May 9, 2023 - China halted operations at 32 coal production locations in Inner Mongolia after a deadly accident in February triggered nationwide safety checks.
The affected operations were open pits with steep slopes on the edge of mining areas. That poses safety risks similar to the fatal accident, in which a landslide left 53 people dead or missing, industry publication Thermal Coal Group reported, citing National Mine Safety Administration.
Officials at the safety regulator did not respond to calls seeking comments.
China boosted coal output to a record 4.5-billion tons last year and has continued to approve new capacity to allay fears of another power crunch after a series of shortages that curtailed industrial activity. Extreme weather has added to supply uncertainties — boosting summer air conditioning needs to record levels.
Thirty of the mines had a combined 26.55-million tons of annual production capacity, with another 23.55-million of expansions approved, according to the report. Regulators have canceled those expansion plans.
Another two sites with 1.5-million tons capacity were asked to rectify safety risks or risk losing 2.7-million tons of expansion approvals, according to the report.