Experts estimate that China will consume 2.2 billion tons of coal by 2010, causing a shortage of 330 million tons, Wang Xianzheng, vice director of the State Administration of Work Safety, said Tuesday at an annual exposition.
"The present size and scale of China's coal industry are far from being able to meet the country's future market demand. Insufficient supply will continue to be a major problem," Wang said.
Wang addressed a high-profile forum on China's energy strategy at the ongoing Eighth China Beijing and International High-tech Exposition, which opened Monday.
He said China's current coal production capacity, with all types of coal mines included, is about 1.67 billion tons. Of the total, only 1.2 billion tons were produced by mines up to the country's safety production standards. By 2010, China's coal output may reach 1.87 billion tons, he said.
With 87.4 percent of China's proven energy reserve being coal, the Chinese people have long been taking coal as their fundamental energy resources. China's coal sector, however, is still plagued by problems such as irrational industrial structure, expensive operation costs and higher production risks, Wang said.
To remedy the situation, the Chinese government has begun to diversify its energy supply structure, tighten safety control on coal mine production and to optimize its utilization of coal products, Wang noted.
About 56 foreign delegations and 31 domestic missions have attended the exposition, which will close Friday. Participants will exchange their views on a number of issues including China's cyclical economy, high-tech enterprises' development, energy strategy, agriculture industrialization, China's transportation technology and management, China's resources and environmental protection, disaster protection and relief in urban areas and the development of China's software and medical industries.