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Another deadly coal accident in China threatens output growth

24th August 2023

By: Bloomberg

  

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Fatal accidents continue to undermine China’s coal industry, with the latest incident in Shaanxi set to impede plans to raise production if authorities once again ramp up scrutiny of mine safety.

A gas explosion on Monday at a mine in China’s third-largest coal province killed 11, halting operations there and ending a month-long run of declining prices for thermal coal. It’s the worst accident since February, when a mine collapse in Inner Mongolia claimed 53 lives and triggered nationwide checks on safety.

If regulators respond in similar fashion, it’ll be difficult to keep raising average monthly levels of output, Hou Jian, an analyst at the China Coal Transport and Distribution Association, told a briefing on Wednesday. The association cut its forecast for annual production by almost 100-million tons to 4.6 billion tons.

China mined nearly 4.5 billion tons last year, a record, as Beijing prioritizes production of its mainstay fuel to safeguard energy security after the economy was blighted by power outages in recent years. But the limits of that expansion are becoming apparent, as the quality of coal declines and all-too-frequent accidents hamper operations.

The latest disaster affected coal used by the steel industry and coking coal futures in Dalian have climbed over 8% this week to above 1,500 yuan ($206) a ton. Most of China’s coal goes to power generation and the domestic spot price for the thermal variety inched up to around 820 yuan a ton on Wednesday, after falling for nearly a month, according to CCTD.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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