Monday, October 25

China’s Coal Hub Broadens Output Freeze Amid Heavy Rain, Floods


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(Bloomberg) — China broadened a production halt at mines and chemical factories in its top coal-producing province, after a week of torrential rain that ravaged the area.

Shanxi province suspended output at 60 coal mines, 372 non-coal mines and 14 dangerous chemical factories, the provincial government said in a statement published on its official WeChat account Saturday. Heavy rainfall earlier this week led to collapses and landslides in many cities in the province, causing fatalities, the government said, without providing further details.

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The disaster prompted a response that also saw work at 1,035 construction sites halted and 166 scenic spots closed in the region, the statement showed. The latest suspension follows the Northern Chinese province’s production stoppage at 27 coal mines on Oct. 4.

The halt in Shanxi adds fresh pressure on a nation already struggling with an energy shortage that has led to the rationing of electricity for factories and even caused blackouts in homes. Government officials last week pressed mines to boost output, allowing them to keep producing even after they reached annual quotas.

Read More: China to Allow Power Prices to Rise Amid Energy Squeeze

The torrential rain in Shanxi is yet another extreme weather event hitting the world’s second largest economy this year, after a relentless downpour and flooding in the province of Henan in July left more than 300 people dead. The disaster has weighed on the country’s manufacturing sector.

Shanxi’s provincial government also said on Saturday that it has earmarked 20 million yuan ($3.1 million) for disaster relief, and that it has distributed supplies including tents and quilts to support those affected by the floods.

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