|China aims to build five to seven big coal groups|
The Chinese government is planning to establish five to seven major coal producers over the next five years.
The bid to step up restructuring is intended to accelerate technological modernization in the industry and to meet projected growth in demand.
Each of the giants will have an output capacity of 100 million tons of coal annually under the proposals in the country's 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010).
The restructuring policies for the coal industry worked out by the National Development and Reform Commission allow for mergers, renovation and regrouping of small mines.
By 2010, China's coal output capacity is expected to hit 2.45 billion tons, up 16 percent from 2005, to realize the goal of an overall balance of supply and demand. Last year, China's coal output stood at 2.26 billion tons.
By 2010, the output of large and medium-sized coal mines should account for 75 percent of the country's total, compared with the current 56 percent.
Meanwhile, mechanization should be completed in 95 percent of large and 80 percent of medium-sized mines, compared to 30 percent of small mines.
Industrial safety and environmental protection are also key targets in the industry's restructuring.
The government aims to cut the ratio of fatalities to every one million tons of coal produced to fewer than 1.6 deaths by 2010 from 2.81 deaths in 2005.
Last year, 5,938 people were killed in 3,341 coal-mine related accidents.
The government has intensified its crackdown on small and illegally operated coal mines this year.