Ningxia and coal

From Global Energy Monitor

Coal plants in Ningxia

For a full list and map of all coal plants in Ningxia Province, China, go to CoalSwarm's Global Coal Plant Tracker and choose Region East Asia, Map China - Ningxia.


Mineral resources of Ningxia consist mainly of coal reserves. It has four main coalfields dispersed throughout the region. There is one near the Inner Mongolian border in the north, another in Xiangshan in the west-central area, another near Lingwu in east-central Ningxia, and around Guyuan in the south. After the construction of the Baotou-Lanzhou railroad in 1958, coal mining expanded. The region is now one of the largest cole mining generation in Northern China.[1] The region is about 66,400 square km (25,600 square miles.) It has a population of 6,301,350 as of 2010 census.[2]

Environmental impacts

Air and water pollution highlighted in Northwest China

Click here for photos of the environmental effects of coal mining in China.

Increasing Chinese air and water pollution, declining water levels in rivers and aquifers have led to protests against coal plants. At least some 10 billion cubic meters of water—equivalent to about one-sixth of the annual total water volume of the Yellow River—will be consumed by 16 new coal power bases in China in 2015, triggering severe water crises in the country’s arid Northwest, a new Greenpeace report claims. [3]

The World Bank estimates that China has 16 of the world’s 20 most-polluted cities. The burning of coal is the main source of air pollution. [4]

An estimated 40 percent of China's rivers and 90 percent of groundwater is polluted. [5]

According to the American Geophysical Union, some of the highest rates of groundwater depletion are in India and China. [6] Chinese and Indian Rivers are drying. Himalayan glaciers are among the fastest retreating glaciers globally due to the effects of global warming, and this will eventually result in water shortages for hundreds of millions of people who rely on glacier-dependent rivers in China, India and Nepal. [7]

Major Chinese pollution problems, much of it caused by coal, has sparked unrest. The number of environmental protests in China has increased by an average of 29 percent every year since 1996, while in 2011 the number of major environmental incidents rose 120 percent. Environmental pollution is one of three main factors driving popular protests in China. [8]

The 2012 Greenpeace report, "Thirsty Coal: A Water Crisis Exacerbated by China's New Mega Coal Power Bases," estimates that by 2015, the water demand of coal power bases in Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, and Ningxia will either severely challenge or exceed the respective areas’ total industrial water supply capacity.

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