China’s top coking coal miner calls on State to control supply

6th March 2024 By: Bloomberg

China’s coking coal industry needs more state protection, including restrictions on supply, according to the chairman of the biggest miner.

Beijing should control mining activity, limit output and consolidate smaller producers into state-owned firms to “reduce disorderly competition,” Shanxi Coking Coal Energy Group chairman Zhao Jianze told local media. China should also build strategic reserves of the steelmaking fuel, which he called “a ballast stone in China’s industrial economic system.”

While blessed with an abundance of thermal coal for power generation, China’s reserves of the steelmaking variety are far more scarce. That’s led to an over-reliance on imports, which has created vulnerabilities. A ban on Australian supplies — the only effective substitute for Chinese coking coal, according to Zhao — drastically curtailed shipments for more than two years before it was lifted in early 2023.

Zhao is a national committee member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, one of two legislative sessions being held in the capital this week. Officials typically use the meetings to catch the attention of policymakers as they draw up the government’s agenda for the year ahead.

Coking coal producers have suffered an outsized impact in recent months from a spate of fatal mining disasters in China, which has disrupted operations and curbed supply. The protracted slump in China’s property market is also sapping demand from their customers at steel mills.

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