SHANGHAI - China has boosted daily output of coal to a new annual high of 11.88 million tonnes after concerted efforts to alleviate a supply shortage as it heads into winter, the powerful state planner said, and production could rise further.
The Asian giant's consumption of polluting coal has drawn scrutiny this week as nations gathered in Glasgow to discuss further measures needed to slow global warming.
Beijing, by far the world's biggest consumer of coal and also the top producer of climate-warming greenhouse gases, is committed to reducing coal use, but only after 2025.
"According to current production increase trends, the daily production rate is expected to soon exceed 12 million tonnes," the National Development and Reform Commission said on Friday.
Thursday's milestone of 11.88 million tonnes was an increase from the previous day's figure of 11.2 million, it added.
Daily output in the top coal producing regions of Shanxi and Inner Mongolia has risen by 220,000 tonnes and 420,000 tonnes respectively, compared to the beginning of October, the state planner said.
Inner Mongolia was "sparing no effort" to raise production and transport capacity, the official Xinhua news agency said on Saturday, as regional companies deliver large shipments to the major coal port of Qinhuangdao at discounted prices in a bid to stabilise the market.
Annual production capacity in the city of Ordos alone has been raised by 140 million tonnes, with a further 106 mines recently approved to expand output, it said.
China has been beefing up coal production to control soaring prices as it tries to ensure sufficient winter stockpiles for power plants and heating suppliers.
A severe energy crunch in October was blamed on soaring demand, supply disruptions and a fixed price system that made it impossible for power generators to pass rising costs to consumers.
(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Clarence Fernandez) ((email@example.com; +86 21 2083 0066;))