URUMQI -- Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region posted strong growth in coal output in 2022 as it moved to ensure the country's energy supply.
The region produced 400 million tons of raw coal last year, up 25 percent year-on-year, according to the Xinjiang regional development and reform commission.
Xinjiang is China's fourth-largest coal-producing region. Currently, it has a proven coal reserve of 450 billion tons, or one-fourth of the country's total, ranking second after Inner Mongolia.
Its output growth rates over the past two years far exceeded that of the three leading coal-producing regions of Shanxi, Shaanxi, and Inner Mongolia.
Boosted by higher coal prices and defying higher transportation costs, more coal was sent to other regions outside Xinjiang. A total of 80 million tons of coal was sold to other regions last year, nearly doubling the amount in 2021, according to the commission.
"Increasingly more coal mining companies are having their eyes on Xinjiang," said Zhang Kui, deputy general manager of Xinjiang Coal Trading Center Co Ltd. Despite higher transportation costs, coal from Xinjiang is still competitive, he said.
Xinjiang is playing a bigger role in the country's efforts to ensure coal supply as authorities approved more new mine projects there.
In the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25), the region planned to increase its annual coal production capacity by at least 160 million tons to at least 460 million tons.