Text by Zhang Shifu
Guizhou Province in southwestern China has long been celebrated for its picturesque landscapes and fascinating people, but it has also become known as a land where affluence and poverty intermingle.
Much of the province’s wealth can be traced to its amazingly abundant natural resources. Particularly, its coal reserves are equal to the total of the other nine Chinese provinces south to the Yangtze River, hence its reputation as “the coal sea of Southwest China.” However, due to underdeveloped transportation infrastructure and meager arable farmland, Guizhou suffers from a less-developed economy, and its rural poverty-stricken population has been estimated at over 5 million, greater than any other province in China. These days, however, the province is marching down a path to prosperity through optimization of its energy resources.
Currently, Guizhou’s coal industry is comparable to that of Shanxi Province, another major Chinese coal producer, before its industrial restructuring: Most coal mines and manufacturers are small in size and lack technical capacity and construction capital, as well as an integrated coal industrial chain. Despite its abundant energy resources, Guizhou has very few giant mining and energy companies comparable to Shenhua Group and Jincheng Anthracic Mining Group. The situation already forced Guizhou to take measures to integrate its coal enterprises as soon as possible. Since 2010, the State Council has promulgated a series of incentives, and the province has set a goal of reforming and integrating its coal enterprises.
According to its plan, by the end of 2013, the province will restrict its number of coal mining enterprises to only 200 and establish a massive coal mining flagship enterprise with an annual output of 50 million tons, flanked by two large coal mining groups with an annual capacity of 30 million tons each, as well as three more with an annual output capacity of 10 million tons and 10 with capacity of 5 million tons - ensuring that coal mining enterprises with total annual output capacity of 5 million tons or more contribute at least 60 percent of the province’s total production.