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China orders coalmines to raise coal production to address power crunch

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China orders coalmines to raise coal production to address power crunch

Chinese officials have ordered more than 70 mines in Inner Mongolia to increase coal production by almost 100m tonnes, with the country battling its worst power crunch and coal shortages in years.

The move is the latest attempt by Chinese authorities to boost coal supply amid record high prices and shortages of electricity that have led to power rationing across the country, crippling industrial output.

The proposed increase would make up almost 3% of China’s total thermal coal consumption. In an urgent notice dated 7 October, the Inner Mongolia regional energy department asked the cities of Wuhai, Ordos and Hulunbuir, as well as Xilingol League, to notify 72 mines that they may operate at stipulated higher capacities immediately, provided they ensure safe production.

An official with the region’s energy bureau confirmed the notice but declined to say how long the production boost would be allowed to last.

The notice came after a meeting on the same day during which the regional authorities mapped out measures for winter energy supplies in response to mandates from China’s state council, or cabinet, the state-run Inner Mongolia Daily reported.

“The (government’s) coal taskforce shall urge miners to raise output with no compromise, while the power task team shall have the generating firms guarantee meeting the winter electricity and heating demand,” the newspaper said.

A Beijing-based trader, who estimated the production boost may take up to two to three months to materialise, said: “This demonstrates the government is serious about raising local coal production to ease the shortage.”

The 72 mines listed by the Inner Mongolia energy bureau, most of which are open pits, had previously authorised annual capacity of 178.45m tonnes. The notice proposed they increase their production capacity by 98.35m tonnes combined, according to Reuters calculations.

“It will help alleviate the coal shortage but cannot eliminate the issue,” said Lara Dong, a senior director with IHS Markit. “The government will still need to apply power rationing to ensure the balancing of the coal and power markets over the winter,” she said.

Inner Mongolia is China’s second biggest coal-producing region, churning out just over 1bn tonnes in 2020 and accounting for more than a quarter of the national total, official data shows.

However, that output was down 8% in 2020 and was falling every month from April through July this year, partly because of an anti-corruption investigation initiated last year by Beijing targeting the coal sector, which led to lower production as miners were banned from producing above approved capacity.

The neighbouring Shanxi province, China’s biggest coal region, had to close 27 coalmines this week because of flooding.

Coal inventories at major Chinese ports were at 52.34m tonnes in late September before a week-long national holiday that started on 1 October, down 18% from the same period last year, data compiled by the China Coal Transportation and Distribution Association showed.

Meanwhile, coal consumption is climbing as north-eastern China has kicked off the winter heating season, with major power plants having stockpiles for about 10 days of use, down from more than 20 days last year.

To ensure power and heating supply to residential users, China has reopened dozens of other mines and approved several new ones.

The government has also called for “appropriately” raising coal imports to levels on a par with last year, analysts said, after imports fell almost 10% in the first eight months.

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Environment

F.G’s Dangote Flood Committee Shares N1.5b Relief Materials To Flood Victims

The Dangote-led Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation (PCFRR), known as Dangote Flood Committee has distributed N1.5 billion relief materials to victims of flooding nationwide.

The PCFRR, which was established by the Federal Government following the 2012 flooding, is co-chaired by Africa’s foremost industrialist Aliko Dangote and Dr. Olisa Agbakoba.

The flagging off ceremony for the relief materials distribution for this year started in Borno State and was conducted by the State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum Tuesday in Maiduguri, Borno State capital. The Governor thanked the Dangote Flood Committee and promised that he will ensure that the items get to the victims.

UNICEF revealed that the 2022 flood killed 600 people, displaced 1.3 million and destroyed more than 82,000 homes in Nigeria, therefore making it the worst in decades.

The representative of the committee, Alhaji Umar Musa Gulani, assured at the flagging off for the Northeast zone that the exercise would also be conducted in the other five geopolitical zones of the country.

Gulani said the items from the committee have been officially handed over to the Borno State Government and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). He said the exercise would be conducted across the six geo-political zones, beginning from the northeastern State of Borno.

The breakdown of items donated includes 86 bags of rice, 34 bags of beans, 34 bags of maize, 34 bags of millet, 34 bags of Guinea Corn, 34 bags of Garri, 86 cartons of noodles, 86 cartons of spaghetti, 86 cartons of macaroni and 86 bags of sugar, and 857 bags of cement, among several food and non-food items.

Gulani said over N10 billion has been expended by the committee to mitigate the effect of flooding since inception in 2012, adding that no fewer than 84 Hostels have been built for flood victims in 24 states of Nigeria. According to him: “This private sector led project is highly commendable and it has been sustained in the past ten years. It is a selfless service from the private sector and Nigerians should appreciate their selfless service to humanity”.

Director General of NEMA Alhaji Mustapha Habib Ahmed described the Committee’s intervention as a milestone for Nigeria in general, and flood victims in particular. “Responding to the humanitarian outcomes of this nature requires concerted effort,” the DG said, and added that the donation by the Dangote Flood Committee would eventually be made available to flood victims across the affected states in Nigeria.

Speaking on behalf of the victims, Khalifa El-Miskin said the victims were extremely appreciative of the gesture.

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Environment

600 Persons Killed, 1.3m Displaced By Floods – UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund has said at least that 600 persons died and 1.3 million others rendered homeless by floods.

This was disclosed by the Chief of UNICEF Field Office, Enugu, Juliet Chiluwe, on Saturday, during an official handover of supplies for Anambra State Flood Response from UNICEF to Anambra State Government

Ms Chiluwe said the figure was obtained according to government data available it received.

During the visit by the UNICEF, the first set of supplies of 100 drums of chlorine for disinfection of water sources, 40 cartons of Aquatabs for household water treatment and 320 cartons of Ready to Use Therapeutic food were handed over to the state governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, who was represented by his deputy, Onyekachukwu Ibezim.

The UNICEF official said, “We acknowledged that since September 2022, the worst floods in a decade affected 2.8 million people, of which an estimated 60 per cent are children, across 34 of the 36 states in Nigeria. Of those affected, 1.3 million people have been displaced, and over 600 people have died in relation to flooding according to government data.

“Continuous heavy rains have collapsed hundreds of public health facilities, water systems and sanitation facilities, increasing the risk of waterborne diseases, such as cholera, diarrhoea, and malaria.

“To contribute to the effort of government and other development partners, UNICEF, with funding the Central Emergency Response Fund, has initiated a multisectoral response comprising Health, Child Protection and WASH sectors, to mitigate the impact of the floods support the early recovery-phase of the affected population in Anambra State.“

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Environment

Dantata, Rabiu, Others Gift Jigawa Flood Victims N1b

Nigerian businessman and philanthropist, Alhaji Aminu Dantata, and Abdulsamad Rabiu, the founder of BUA group, on Saturday raised over N1 billion for Jigawa flood victims.

The donations were made in Dutse at the fund raising in support of the 2022 flood victims in the state.

Dantata and Rabiu each donated N200 million, Jigawa State Government N250 million, Gov. Muhammad Badaru, donated N25 million on behalf of himself, family and his company, Talamis Group.

However, Dantata, who was represented by Alhaji Salisu Sambajo, expressed concern over the conditions in which the flood victims found themselves after the disaster.

The philanthropist prayed for those who died during the disaster and sympathised with those who lost their property and crops in the floods.

Similarly, Badaru also expressed appreciation to the teeming donors for their kind gesture and urged the fund raising committee to be equitable and just in the distribution of the palliatives and cash.

The committee Chairman, Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu, (Wazirin Dutse) and former Minister of Power, thanked individuals and group of companies for supporting the victims.

Other donors included the members of the state and National Assembly as well as Council Chairmen.

Zenith Bank, Jaiz Bank, FCMB, Sterling Bank, GTBANK and Unity Bank were among the financial institutions who made donations.

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