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China's Shanxi province asks coal miners to cut or shorten holidays: document
[BEIJING] China's second-biggest coal producing province, Shanxi, has asked coal miners to shorten or get rid of staff holidays during the upcoming Spring Festival celebration to tame a wild price rally and ensure fuel supplies, according to a document reviewed by Reuters.
The document from the provincial coal administration was sent to city authorities and state-owned coal companies. An official at the provincial coal administration confirmed its authenticity.
"We are asking big state-owned coal miners to stagger maintenance and increase coal supplies during the Spring Festival, but of course under the basis of ensuring safety," the official told Reuters over the phone.
Shanxi's request follows a Reuters report on Jan. 26 that four of China's top utilities warned of heating and electricity shortages due to tight supplies of coal ahead of and during the Spring Festival holiday. The holiday, also known as the Lunar New Year, will start on Feb. 15 this year.
Shanxi produced 845 million tonnes of coal last year, up 5 per cent from 2016 and a quarter of the national total.
This month, Shanxi has announced a series of measures to cut coal capacity by 23 million tonnes this year and close small mines as part of its efforts to streamline the sector.
Thermal coal futures on China's Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange have gained 10 per cent this year and are 74 per cent higher than a year ago.