SOURCE: Reuters

DATE: August 5, 2019

SNIP: Approvals for new coal mine construction in China have surged in 2019, government documents showed, with Beijing expecting consumption of the commodity to rise in the coming years even as it steps up its fight against smog and greenhouse gas emissions.

Long-term cuts in coal consumption are a key part of China’s energy, environment and climate goals, but the fivefold increase in new mine approvals in the first-half of 2019 suggests China’s targets still provide ample room for shorter-term growth.

China’s energy regulator gave the go-ahead to build 141 million tonnes of new annual coal production capacity from January to June, compared to 25 million tonnes over the whole of last year, Reuters analysis of approval documents showed.

Lauri Myllyvirta, senior energy analyst with environmental group Greenpeace, said many of the newly approved projects would likely replace small or depleted old mines.

“However, it is alarming that China’s energy planning seems to be driving at roughly maintaining current levels of coal output for the coming decade or two, which is very hard to reconcile with the goal of the Paris agreement (on climate change),” he said.

Chinese coal output rose 2.6% in the first-half of 2019 to 1.76 billion tonnes.