China's most coal-rich province lacks engineers; supply reduction expected in 2006

As the market demands remain high, the coal industry in Shanxi, which has the largest coal reserves in China, is running short of professional engineers like work safety talents and managerial staffs, a research report by the province has found.

Only 79,300 people have had relevant certificate and professional education in the coal industry in the province, accounting for less than 8 percent of its 1 million coal workers, according to a report conducted by the province's coal industry bureau on its coal industry workforce.

Among those in the coal workforce, only 13,600 people, or 1.34 percent of the industry's workforce, have received four-year university or graduate education, according to the report.

The report finds that many of its coal mines lack regularly trained engineers in coal mining, ventilation and tunneling, which it says may pose a possible threat to the province's work safety in mining.

Most of the province's miners are peasants-turned migrant workers who frequently change their jobs from one mine to another, says the report.

The provincial authority on coal production promised earlier this month that it would cut its coal supply by more than 100 million tons next year.

Analysts said that the drastic decline in the coal supply in 2006 can be attributed to the large-scale shutdown of small mines, the crackdown on illegal coal mining, and the curbing of overproduction for the sake of work safety.

The province will also tighten the control of coal circulation, barring coal mines and their products without new licenses from the market.

Shanxi currently has proven coal reserves of 272.5 billion tons, accounting for one third of the country's total.

From 2000 to 2004, Shanxi's annual coal output maintained an average growth of 30 million tons. In 2004, the coal output of the province reached 493 million tons, about 15 percent of China's total.

Source: Xinhua



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