According to the nation’s statistical bureau, China’s coal output in April dropped to 298 million t, a decrease of 7.4% from the same point a year ago. Declining economic growth and efforts to decrease consumption of polluting fossil fuels have hit the industry hard.
The bureau stated that production over the first four months as a whole reached 1.15 billion t, down 6.1% compared to the same period last year.
More than 80% of Chinese mining firms have suffered losses, under strain from chronic oversupply within the coal sector and a collapse in prices.
The Chinese government has been attempting to carry out a careful balancing act, trying to reduce its reliance on coal whilst still protecting a sector that provides nearly 6 million jobs nationwide.
The sector has been heavily damaged by declining economic growth, with demand for key power-consuming products dipping over the course of this year. Official data on Wednesday showed that crude steel production fell 1.3% in the first four months of 2015, while cement output dropped 4.8% over the period.
Attempts to encourage renewable power and cut coal-fired electricity use also appear to be having a negative impact.
China's overall power output rose 1% in April to 445 billion kilowatt hours (kWh), but thermal power production - more than 90% of which is derived from coal - dipped 2.8% to 340.9 billion kWh, and is down 3.5% so far in 2015.
The April figures mark the first time China has reported official monthly coal production data since June 2010.
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