China’s coal production leapt 2.1% from the year before, hitting its highest level in three years as major miners increase output and new miners begin operations.
Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed production had hit 320.38 million tonnes of coal in December – its highest volume since June 2015.
Last year, China approved $6.64 billion worth of new coal mining projects, which helped annual production rise 5.2% from the 3.55 billion tonnes achieved three years earlier.
A Beijing-based coal analyst with a major broker said: “Coal mining capacity coming online will lead to another increase in output this year after boosting December output to a more than three-year high.”
This comes following a recent Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) report that found China to be a key backer of coal-fired power generation globally, funding over a quarter of all new plants being developed outside its borders. Top destinations for the funding include Bangladesh, Vietnam, South Africa and Pakistan.
In its World Energy Outlook 2017, the IEA said the amount of coal used in South-East Asia’s power mix will grow to 40% in 2040, up from the current rate of 35%, fuelling its forecast of global coal demand growth through to 2022.