BEIJING, March 26 (Reuters) - China added 194 million tonnes of coal mining capacity in 2018, data from the energy bureau showed on Tuesday, despite vows to eliminate excess capacity in the sector and to reduce fossil fuel consumption.
Total coal mining capacity in the country was at 3.53 billion tonnes per year by the end of 2018, according to a statement from the National Energy Administration (NEA). That compares to 3.34 billion tonnes at the end of 2017.
The NEA said that excludes 1.03 billion tonnes per year of approved coal capacity currently under construction and 370 million tonnes per year under trial operation.
Additionally, the NEA has approved another seven coal mining projects with a combined capacity of 22.5 million tonnes per year since the beginning of 2019.
However, the total amount of coal mines in China declined to 3,373 in 2018 from 3,907 in 2017, the NEA said in the statement, as Beijing has been phasing out small and ineffective coal mines in eastern regions and expanding capacity in the west
The increasing coal capacity has stirred concerns it will undermine efforts to cut the share of coal in total energy use, and that China will be unable to keep its commitment of capping climate-warming carbon emissions by around 2030.
China produced 3.55 billion tonnes of coal in 2018, up 5.2 percent from a year ago, while generating 4.979 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity from coal-fired power plants, up 6 percent from the 2017 level, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.
(Reporting by Muyu Xu and Dominique Patton; editing by Christian Schmollinger)
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