BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s coal output in the first two months of 2020 fell 6.3% from the same period a year earlier as the coronavirus outbreak stopped miners from getting back to work after the Lunar New Year holiday was extended in a bid to contain the epidemic.
China churned out 489.03 million tonnes of coal over January and February, down from 513.67 million tonnes in the same period last year, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Monday.
Production of coke, widely used in steelmaking, fell 5.5% on the year in January-February to 70.64 million tonnes, statistic bureau data showed. The statistics bureau didn’t disclose numbers for January and February separately.
Authorities prolonged the week-long Lunar New Year celebration, which began on Jan. 24 this year, for an extra two weeks and some regions blocked roads in an effort to rein in the spread of the virus that has now killed more than 3,200 people and infected more than 80,000 in mainland China.
To ensure sufficient coal supplies for power utilities, the central government had urged miners to resume production and rail companies to ensure enough capacity for shipping coal.