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Coal Efficiency Set to Get Boost

The authorities aim to boost the efficient use of coal supplies by raising the average recovery rate of the resource in the country from about 30 percent currently to at least 50 percent by 2010, a senior government official has said.

The country's top economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), had in 2006 set the goal of a 40 percent coal recovery rate by the end of the decade, Zhao Xiaoping, deputy director of the National Energy Administration (NEA) under the NDRC, said to participants of the 2009 China Industrial Development Forum on Saturday.

China is the world's largest coal producer and consumer. Its dependence on coal continues amid the occurrence of coal mine accidents and its use of the resource is said to be inefficient compared with those of other countries - the coal recovery rate in developed countries including the United States, Australia, Germany and Canada is reportedly about 80 percent.

China uses 3.3 tons of raw material to produce 1 ton of coal, while the US is said to use 1.25 tons.

The country's latest move to boost coal efficiency is expected to save 1.3 tons of resources for every ton of coal produced.

The authorities also aim to reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent, as well as cutting the emission of major pollutants by 10 percent, in the next five years.

As part of its efforts to achieve these goals, the country aims to consolidate the coal industry by building five large mines with a capacity of 100 million tons each, as well as shut polluting and inefficient small coal pits, Zhao said.

"Energy conservation and the ability to raise energy efficiency is a top priority in our energy development strategy," Zhao said.

According to a 2007 energy report issued by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the country's State-owned coal mines have a mining recovery rate of nearly 44 percent, compared with a low of 10 percent seen in a number of small and private coal mines.

The low rate is mostly caused by backward and inefficient mining techniques, the academy reported. The country relies on coal to generate nearly 80 percent of its electricity, NDRC figures showed.

(China Daily November 3, 2008)

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