BEIJING China will allow coal mines in areas with short supply to increase their production to help cope with an expected increase in demand for heating and power during winter and spring, the state planner said.Coal mines that are currently under construction will also be encouraged to complete construction and begin production of coal, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on its website on Saturday, citing a meeting held on Friday to discuss energy supply and demand during the colder seasons.The planner did not provide details of the size of any production increases nor in which areas production will be allowed to be raised.The government has partially reversed sweeping capacity cuts enforced earlier this year after they triggered a frenzied price rally and depleted domestic stockpiles this year. China's electric power utilities are scrambling to get coal from anywhere they can, but are coming up short as efforts to boost supply take time to come into effect. [nL3N1BZ2UU] [nL4N1CR2T0]
China has already ordered major coal mines to raise thermal coal output by 1 million tonnes per day, as part of concerted efforts by the government to boost supplies to its electric utilities ahead of the winter. [nL3N1C41WE]
The meeting, chaired by NDRC vice chairman Lian Weiliang, heard that the planner wants to stabilise prices but will adhere to the country’s longer-term plan to reduce coal production capacity. In addition to coal, the meeting also addressed power supply needs for winter and spring and reiterated that natural gas supply will be tight in the northern part of China over winter. China will use various channels to increase natural gas imports during the period, the NDRC said in a statement on Oct. 20. [nB9N1CJ011]
(Reporting by Nick Heath, Fang Cheng and Meng Meng; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
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Updated Date: Oct 22, 2016 19:15:09 IST