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Northeast China grapples with unemployment as country close coal mines

(Global Times)    15:28, December 16, 2016

Governments in Northeast China are going to great pains to create new jobs as the country is pushing ahead with its plan to cut industrial overcapacity.

In Tonghua, in the south of Jilin province, a coal mine with an annual output of 210,000 tons and owned by Shansonggang Mining Industry Group was shut down in August due to continuous losses and declining resources.

"The mine had to resettle 1,077 workers," Sun Tao, the former head of this mine, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The mine is owned by Jilin Provincial Coal Industry Group Co, the largest coal producer in the province. The company produced nearly 90 percent of the total coal in the province in 2015 but recorded a debt ratio of 79.2 percent.

To tackle the capacity glut, the group targets at reducing the annual capacity of 15.03 million tons from 2016 to 2018, which accounts for 53.6 percent of its total production.

A major focus this year amid the shutdown of its coal mines is the resettlement of workers, said Liu Dantong, the vice director of mining business at the group.

"We encourage rechanneling workers to other sites in order to prevent massive layoffs," he told the Global Times on Wednesday.

For example, the group established a poultry farm two decades ago as a side business, Liu added. "When the coal market boomed, we paid less attention to this farm, but it offers jobs opportunities to some coal workers as the coal industry declines," he said.

Jilin Province, which reported a GDP growth of 6.9 percent for the first three quarters, has reached its target of reducing coal production capacity by 16.37 million tons, and it will slash another 6.17 million tons in 2017, an official document obtained by the Global Times on Wednesday showed.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Zhang Tianrui, Bianji)

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