BEIJING- China's coal mining hub of Shanxi province aims to halve its coal-washing capacity to 1.8 billion tonnes a year and reduce the number of plants involved in the process to 1,200 by end-September, the area's energy administration said on Thursday.
Shanxi pledged last year to reduce excessive capacity in the coal-washing industry and to shut plants that failed to meet tougher environmental standards. The washing process removes sulphur and other impurities from coal with water and chemicals before it is burned in power plants.
Shanxi, China's second-biggest coal-mining province by output, had 2,704 coal-washing and preparation plants with a total annual capacity of 3.84 billion tonnes at end-2019.
At least 80% of the coal mined in Shanxi will have to be washed before use by the end of 2020 to improve coal quality and reduce toxic emissions, the provincial energy administration said in a statement.
The province also said it would close small-sized washing plants with capacities of less than 1.2 million tonnes a year by the end of this year.
The Shanxi energy administration urged city governments to tighten their scrutiny of environmental certificates at the washing companies that are allowed to operate.
"Less than a third of the coal-washing companies that local authorities have given green lights have actually met the environmental standards and acquire legal land-use rights," said the energy administration in its statement.
China produced 3.75 billion tonnes of coal in 2019, with about a quarter of that coming from Shanxi province.
(Reporting by Muyu Xu and Tom Daly; Editing by Tom Hogue) ((email@example.com; +86 10 56692117;))