As environmental concerns come to the fore, how are traditional mining cities coping with a new green sheriff in town? Mitch Beedie reports on how towns and cities that have sprung up around coal and mineral deposits increasingly must adapt to new environmental concerns.
Miners need to be kept supplied with resources for their work, need to get to and from the pit face and need somewhere to spend their money the rest of the time. If towns aren't planned from the start, buildings often start by clustering round individual, scattered pits.
Joining these together can form complete towns with shops, hotels, hospitals, schools, cinemas and other forms of entertainment.
A ready supply of coal has often attracted other industries, particularly energy intensive ones which can require huge volumes of coal to process raw materials. So, while some cities service mines exclusively, others grow up with a mix of industries.
Then, mining activities impact upon other city residents as well as original inhabitants of the land. Often, it damages or even destroys the landscape that feeds it, and people are now less tolerant of environmental damage than when mining cities were built. Mining is increasingly having to address environmental concerns.
Attracting new technology and diversifying
Some existing coal mining cities are turning to new technologies to avoid the problems associated with coal burning. One of China's major coal mining cities, Jincheng City, is built around an estimated eight billion tons in reserves of anthracite coal. It is adopting cleaner coal processes and developing new industries to supplement its coal industry, offering one million yuan grants to do it.
The mines now already extract billions of cubic metres a year of coal mine methane (CMM) from surface and underground, and plans more. That has improved safety in the mines, reduced air pollution in the city and greenhouse gas emissions, and brought a cheap new source of fuel.
Energy-intensive activities like glass making have transferred from coal to methane, simultaneously making processes more controllable and so improving glass quality. Taxis and buses in the city have been converted to run primarily from methane, with petrol only a backup (again helping improve air quality). The city is also looking at more speculative techniques like carbon capture to reduce the environmental effects of coal burning.
An anthracite mine near Jincheng has recently been reopened by the Lanhua Industrial Group for pulverised coal injection (PCI) in blast furnaces. Jincheng is also diversifying, shifting its focus from traditional to high-tech industries.
New industries include machining, coal-based chemical industries and pharmaceuticals. Jincheng is attracting companies like Datang, Sinochem, Henderson, Houde, Ogasawara, Foxconn and Walmart.As the professional manufacturer of complete sets of mining machinery, such as Impact crusher,Rock crusher,Flotation cells, Henan Hongxing is always doing the best in products and service.
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