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China to close more than 1000 coal mines

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The Chinese mining industry is expected to take a huge hit this year, with the country planning to close more than 1000 coal mines in 2016.

The closures are in response to faltering demand for coal, low prices, and increasing public concern over the country’s air pollution crisis.

In a notice posted on its website on Monday, translated by Reuters, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said the closures would form part of the plan released earlier this month to shut as much as 500 million tonnes of surplus production capacity within the next three to five years.

The notice, citing administration head Nur Bekri, said China would also aim to tackle overcapacity in the thermal power sector this year by controlling new builds.

Earlier this year, China announced it will not approve any new proposed coal mines until at least 2019, while output at existing operations will continue to be cut during 2016.

Air pollution has soared up the political agenda in China in recent years, with the country issuing its two first red smog alerts in December last year, closing schools and halting outdoor construction work.

Nearly 4,500 people die in China each day (or 1.6 million deaths a year) from diseases related to air pollution, according to a study by physicists at research body Berkeley Earth released last year.

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