BEIJING, Jan. 7-- Coal industry consolidation in Shanxi province is on track and may lead to a boost in output soon, even as the government maintained that prices of the commodity would remain stable this year, the China Daily reported Wednesday.
Shanxi, which accounts for nearly one-fourth of the country's coal needs, intends to step up its output by 80 million tons this year to 700 million tons, the newspaper quoted Wang Shouzhen, director of the Shanxi Coal Industrial Bureau, as saying.
The expanded output is expected to bring some cheer on the price front after prices of the commodity rose sharply in the past few days as demand peaked and supplies dwindled due to transportation problems.
"Coal prices should be relatively stable this year. Though some areas are facing temporary coal shortages, the government is taking steps to address the problem," the newspaper quoted Wu Yin, deputy administrator of the National Energy Administration, as saying.
Shanxi started the restructuring moves in April 2009. The central government launched a pilot project in the province to reduce the number of mines and companies.
By the end of 2009, the province reduced the number of coal firms from 2,200 to 130. Of the 130 companies, 50 percent are shareholding companies while 20 percent are state-owned and the rest are private firms, the newspaper said.