Hong Kong, October 9 (ANI): In a bid to ease a power crisis, China has ordered its coal mines to ramp up production.
Laura He, writing in CNN said that China is struggling to balance its need for electricity.
Power shortages have spread to 20 provinces in recent weeks, forcing the Chinese government to ration electricity during peak hours and some factories to suspend production.
These disruptions resulted in a sharp drop in industrial output last month and weighed on the outlook for China's economy, said Laura He.
Authorities in Inner Mongolia, China's second-largest coal-producing province, have asked 72 mines to boost production by a total of 98.4 million metric tons, according to state-owned Securities Times and the China Securities Journal, citing a document from Inner Mongolia's Energy Administration.
The order, which was approved on Thursday, took effect immediately, the state media outlets said, reported CNN.
The order comes only days after China's top economic planning agency asked the country's three biggest coal-producing provinces -- Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, and Shaanxi -- to deliver 145 million metric tons of coal in the fourth quarter, so that the "livelihood use of coal" is not interrupted, according to separate statements by the provincial authorities last week.
These steps underscore the challenges facing Beijing as it attempts to balance the country's need for power with President Xi Jinping's push for a carbon-neutral China by 2060, said Laura He.
Coal is the main energy source of China, widely used for heating, power generation, and steel making. Last year, it made up nearly 60 per cent of the country's energy use. It is a major source of the country's carbon emissions.
Earlier this year, China has shut down hundreds of coal mines or reduced production in the functioning ones amid a national push to reduce carbon emissions.
It also slapped restrictions on imports of coal from its key supplier Australia, as political tensions between the two nations escalated, the CNN report added. (ANI)