China holds meeting on coal mine safety after accidents

Rescuers adjust an emergency generator at the Diaoshuidong coal mine in Chongqing on Dec 5, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (BLOOMBERG) - Chinese authorities held an emergency meeting on Sunday (Dec 7) after recent major accidents at coal mines, calling for "decisive measures" to control risks and curb such incidents.

Additional safety checks at mines in top producing provinces have crimped output at a time of strengthening demand, pushing prices higher. Thermal coal futures in Zhengzhou on Monday rose to an intraday record.

It's strictly forbidden for local governments and companies to demand higher output from mines than the quotas allow, the State Council's Work Safety Committee and Ministry of Emergency Management said. There's also no grace period for coal mines that are slated to close, it said.

Chongqing government officials were summoned by the committee after two fatal accidents at coal mines in the southwestern region. A total of 23 miners were killed in a mine in Chongqing Saturday, according to state television.

Thermal coal futures on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange rose as much as 2.4 per cent to 713.4 yuan (S$145.8) a ton, the highest intraday level on record for the most-active contract.

Newcastle coal for January delivery rose 2 per cent Friday on ICE Futures Europe, capping off a 9.4 per cent weekly gain. Newcastle coal has a slight quality premium to Zhengzhou.

Coking coal for January delivery on the Dalian Commodity Exchange rose as much as 1.6 per cent to 1,545 yuan a ton. Coke was little changed at 2,563 yuan a ton at 9.44am.

Australian coking coal for January fell 7.5 per cent to US$109.43 (S$146.1) a ton on Friday on the Singapore Exchange.

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