Miners in China's Hebei told to shut some operations during party congress

A painting of former Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong is seen displayed in a stall at Panjiayuan Antique market in Beijing, China, on Oct 11, 2017.
A painting of former Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong is seen displayed in a stall at Panjiayuan Antique market in Beijing, China, on Oct 11, 2017.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China's Hebei province has ordered two big coal producers to shut a total of 59 mines during a key Communist Party gathering in Beijing starting next week, state-run China Coal News reported on Thursday (Oct 12).

Hebei surrounds Beijing, which is gearing up for the once-in-five-years 19th Party Congress that kicks off on Oct 18, with China looking to avoid images of its notorious choking smog and show the capital under clear skies.

Kailuan Group will shut a total of 27 coal mines and Jinzhong Energy Group will close 32, China Coal News said, citing an internal document from Hebei's work-safety watchdog. The total capacity of these mines was not immediately clear.

"These mines being shut down are the older and smaller ones," an executive from Jinzhong Energy told Reuters, adding that the temporary closures would not have much impact on supply ahead of the peak winter-demand season.