Chinese Coal Mining Company Lays Off 100,000 Workers

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

A Chinese coal mining company has announced it is laying off 100,000 workers, accounting for approximately 40% of its labor force.

The news has been reported in several regional news outlets, claiming that Heilongjiang Longmay Mining Holding Group Co Ltd. would be effecting the layoffs over the next three months. According to reports, Company Chairman Wang Zhikui explained that the job cuts were an attempt to “stop bleeding” the company. The company also plans to sell its non-coal related businesses in an effort to pay off its debts.

“Personnel is probably its largest cost,” the State media quoted Deng Shun, an analyst at Shanghai-based energy consultancy ICIS C1 Energy, as saying. “Actually many traditional State-owned coal enterprises are facing the same kind of problem. It has become more severe as the industry remains on a downward trend.”

This mass-layoff comes at a time of increased economic uncertainty in China, and is one of the largest mass layoffs in recent years. State-owned Heilongjiang Longmay Mining Holding Group was founded in 1994, and at time of writing, has around 240,000 workers on staff. According to China Daily, Longmay also cut thousands of jobs last year, at the same time as a massive restructuring effected to stay profitable — a move which failed to work, as according to reports, the company still lost around 5 billion yuan ($815 million). Furthermore, in the period of January to August, 2015, reports are that the company saw massive losses again, down more than 1.1 billion yuan, or around $17.2 million over the year before.

With continuing declines in the price of coal, Longmay had to shut down eight coking mines in northeast China earlier this year. These mines were said to be seeing poor production margins, not something that can be kept on the books during such a time.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Our Latest EVObsession Video

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

Joshua S Hill has 4403 posts and counting. See all posts by Joshua S Hill

37 thoughts on “Chinese Coal Mining Company Lays Off 100,000 Workers

  • There are many other wonderful uses for coal if you don’t burn it. The biggest use is in Agriculture. We can make humic and fulvic acids that tremendously improve the physical properties of soil, including arid deserts. It improves water and fertilizer use effiiency. There is not enough coal in the world to make enough humic and fulvic acid for all the arable lands. Even natural forests will improve with the addition of humic and fulvic acids. If we used coals for this application we would have increased food production to meet the world’s growing population, reduce fertilizer and water application, and minimized soil erosion as well. It easily turns poor soil into a Terra Preta, like the Amazonian Dark Earth which are very productive.

    • When coal is used this way, is there any concern about the presence of mercury or heavy metals? Or is the coal first processed in a manner that removes these, or somehow renders them inert?

      • It will be so diluted that there is no concern. The only reason why we have problems with mercury is that they tend to concentrate in the ashes as the carbon is burned into CO2.

        • Source please?
          One could argue that mercury released in the air by coal power plants is extremely diluted too, yet it’s already sufficient for 8% of pregnant women in the US to have unsafe levels in their blood according to the CDC, among other issues [link].

          Logic would imply that if the same amount of coal is used for agriculture than is now used for power generation, the same amount of mercury, or more, will be released in the environment. No thanks.

          • When you are incorporate coal in the form of organic acids and it will be a tiny portion of the total weight far below the EPA’s treshhold limits, how can it pollute? You ar basically diluting the coal further with water!!!

          • GCO – Logic implies that heavy metals accumulate in the air when released through fuel activities.

            What Marion Meads is describing is an acid-extraction process that is fundamentally different – which means that effluent is not in the form of gas emissions but rather solid and liquid form. Thus, the amount of heavy metals being released into the environment is mitigated through water treatment and solid waste capture instead of spewing waste emissions into the air. In such a process, it is possible to imagine even the “waste” heavy metals such as mercury being recycled and used in other industries. I am not totally familiar with the agricultural use of coal; however, it is certainly counterproductive to assume that we should leave a resource in the ground because it may contain something you are scared of – rather, lets look at the fall in the price of coal as an opportunity for cleaner and greener uses for such a unique resource.

        • Thanks, I’m only lightly acquainted with the terra prieta/ biochar idea, but it does sound interesting. I have no idea how widely it might substitute for other fertilization methods, for instance, but it does sound like it should last longer per application that most current approaches. Perhaps current fertilizer suppliers could find the thought of picking up a new raw material at dirt cheap prices to be a pretty good idea. Equity owners of coal companies might like it, too — no more refuse to be disposed of after their product has been used as intended.

          Considering the amount of dead trees that seem to be standing in a lot of forests, perhaps there’s another source of carbon-based fertilizer staring us in the face, if only we can get to it before the flames do.

    • Surely a better way of achieving this would be through biochar production of agricultural waste (currently burnt in the field).

      This has the added bonus of acting as a CO2 sink – projections I’ve seen suggest that we could pull 3-4Gt/yr out of the atmosphere by moving to a biochar industry.

      However, you are correct, coal will still have uses, even in a post-FF world – probably in the materials field as a precursor for graphene or similar materials.

      • Hear, hear! Biochar is far better than coal.

        Plants pull carbon out of the air, and making them into biochar removes that carbon from the air – where too much of it is a very big problem – and puts it in the ground, where it has myriad benefits.

        We could reverse climate change with biochar. Think about that for a moment.

        • “We could reverse climate change with biochar”

          Yes, but we need to be careful not to stray into hyperbole. Upper estimates of production (in terms of sequestered CO2) I’ve seen are in the 3-4Gt/yr/planet

          So, that’s 10% (approximately) of CO2 we are currently releasing into the atmosphere. So, 10 years to reverse 1 year of damage. Now, even if we want to just avoid the absolute worse and say aim to reduce to 1- 1.5C warming, we’re still looking at maybe 100 years of producing carbon sinks to do it.

          Not impossible, and certainly worth doing, but not a quick fix either.

          I live in hope that we are close to global peak CO2 emissions (not impossible), meaning that with this type of approach, plus using the possible artificial tree or air capture techniques and maybe BCCS, it *might* be possible to pull maybe 10-15Gt of CO2/yr out of the atmosphere. Plus reforestation.

          Then we’d be looking at a more positive future.

          But the first step is to stop sticking as much up there in the first place.

          • Reverting to native grasslands with all their flora and fauna would be another, even more important carbon sink.

    • Biochar is far better than coal. It is a carbon sink, first of all, and it has no downsides.

      Look up terra preta – humans figured out how incredible biochar is – over 2,500 years ago. They used biochar, not coal!

  • Well any time a company lays off workers, you have to realize that most likely each worker has a family and so that layoff effect is multiplied.
    Is the role of government not to look after everybody under their watch and once a company lays off a large amount of workers perhaps there are a number of options, like a similar job, retraining, early retirement and other options?
    But since I do not know how all this works in China do not know if nay of these are options?

    • Omelettes and eggs, sadly. We do know that China’s oligarchy has, like the Emperors before it, to look after the people or lose its legitimacy, the “mandate of heaven”. Something will be done for the miners: not much by our standards, but enough to prevent starvation. We can also be confident that Xi and the rest are well aware that the shift from coal will have major social consequences. They have decided that the risk has to be taken.

    • China is creating jobs in wind and solar at the expense of other industries. A lot of those jobs will produce exports, while no countries would touch China’s brown coal. I’ve read that 40,000,000 Chinese move from rural areas to cities per year! That now will include unemployed coal miners. The best thing they have going for them is that they’re probably better educated than their counterparts in India, Latin America and parts of the United States. Better-educated workers for the same pay is why China crushed other poor countries in attracting US corporations years ago.

      • If wind and solar are taking jobs away from coal and nuclear, then Hip! Hip! Hooray!.

        China is in the process of moving some manufacturing inland, closer to where many people live. They, I believe, see the problem with relocating so many people to their coastal cities. By moving industry to inland cities they can allow people to live at home with their families and they can also more easily access wind and solar resources.

  • Yeah, Australia . . . your coal mining jobs are not coming back either. China will buy from itself before it buys from you.

    • I dunno Coal is a mighty fine source of carbon and hydrogen.I think carbon fibers and synthetic hydrocarbon resins are going to become the preferred building material of the future replacing steel,concrete and wood. All that is required is cheap near limitless electricity that only renewable sources can provide.

      Their will be a gap maybe 50+ years but humans are not done with coal. Well Humans by proxy because the actual mining will be done by robots.

      • Yes, that is a likely future for coal – I think the “keep it in the ground” argument is simple (and I understand why it is being used), but too simple.

        There are many benefits we can derive from FF that don’t involve burning them and sticking the CO2 into the atmosphere.

        • Then they won’t be FFs (Fossil *Fuels*). Maybe FR (Fossil Resources).

    • Thermal coal exports to China should and will (hopefully) die. Austalian coal is slightly less fatal to burn than Chinese domestic coal, but the best way not to die from burning coal is not to burn it in the first place. And what the “Coal Forevahhhh!!!” boosters (Tony Abbott) never mention is that for Australia to maintain its current coal export levels it will have to start exporting lower quality coal, thus losing its advantage.

      Coking coal, used in steel production, is another matter, as Australia may be the lowest cost producer in the world. Its coking mines have stayed open while others have closed accross the world. Of course, just because they make enough money not to sack everyone doesn’t mean they are happy about the lower demand. Of course they will be well positioned when demand rises again, but depending on what happens in India, Nigeria, and so on, the world may have reached peak steel. That is, the world will never produce more steel than it did in 2014.

  • It’s tough for people who loose their jobs, but this kind of job is pretty hazardous, and coal really needs to be left in the ground, so on the whole, I’m happy to hear it. I wish the miners well.

    • It’s heartbreaking to read stories about the history of West Virginia, how people went from being trapped as farmers scratching a living from the land to being even more trapped as near-slaves of Big Coal, destroying the land. The problem is, there’s no way to go back to farming now, and the people have become increasingly right-wing fundamentalists, resenting the outside world and refusing to admit that they took a wrong path. They’ll cling to coal and the Kochs until it buries them.

      • They’ll give up on coal. Most of the jobs disappeared years ago with mountaintop removal mining.

        What West Virginia has going for it is beautiful mountains (if we repair the damage). The future for West Virginia is likely to become a major recreation area for the East Coast.

        West Virginia simply won’t support as many people as it did in its prime. But that’s true of many parts of the country and world.

        I used to live in a place where there were about 10,000 people. It was more like 100 when I lived there. I now live close to a town that once had a couple of multiple story hotels, stores, etc. It now has six small houses, four of which are inhabitable.

        Population migration is the history of people.

        • “Population migration is the history of people.”

          Which RW politicians also need to learn (both in the US and the UK).

          Sorry slight deviation from topic…

  • One of the fastest ways to reduce global carbon emissions would be to have world wide depression or recession. Unfortunately that kind a economic landscape would also dramatically slow adoption of alternative renewable energy.

    Cheer if you want but these 100k unemployed miners are the result of a slowing Chinese economy and not a transition to renewable sources. I’ll celibate when that is the case but for know that is not whats happening.

    If your for renewable adoption ASAP you need to realize that renewable do better much much better in the market meeting new demand in a growing economy. When things slow down renewable adoption slows down because instead of competing against expensive new fossil generation it’s competing against existing already paid for generation capacity a much leaner competitive environment. It’s a long game folk and what looks good in the short term may not be what best in the long game.

    • I think the idea that economic depression can save the nature is similar to hopes of war and famine stopping human population growth. While both have intuitive appeal, they don’t actually work well at all. Turns out that the advancements spurred by global growth (and needed by, it’s a cycle) are much more effective in improving energy use efficiency, improve quality of life, and eventually also lowering birth rates.

      Economic depression can of course halt growth of emissions for a short period of time (like 5 years) and even cause a dip; but it can not lead to longer term sustainable reduction. But technical improvements can and do, and those are best induced by positive growth: with improving economic situation, more resources can be allocated to research, education. While there is also increase in usage there are more physical limits to what people need or want (you can only watch one TV at a time; only certain amount of food you can eat, beyond certain point etc etc), whereas technical progress is not similarly limited.

  • This is in keeping with world-wide shifts.

    The earnings of the US stock market as a whole has been going down for a while now but on closer examination it is almost entirely due to energy cos. like oil and coal.

    Coal co. stocks have been falling like a rock. Fracking is now profitable at under $30/BBL and going down. There is no reason to suppose energy cos can raise their price any time soon. Their margins will slip and there will be more layoffs. This partly comes from energy transitions and partly the coming economic recession. Ultimately it will continue to happen as we transition to renewable energy.

    • Why a coming recession?

      Lower energy costs should mean a drop in product price which should drive more consumption.

      Lower energy costs means that people will have more money to spend on buying non-energy stuff.

      Dropping oil and coal costs hurt oil and coal owners but those aren’t the people who purchase much stuff from our stores and their consumption won’t drop. They’ll just spend less on high ticket items which the tend to trade among themselves.

      Retirement funds will have to scramble a bit to reposition holdings but that won’t change consumption and drive us into a recession.

      Once we get past the ‘current news’ phase I expect to see the market take off again. We just need to get past the “Something happened!” fear.

      • Another recession, because real estate and stocks are still overvalued and the country is still broken in many places. Also, it’s actually China that’s driving the world economy for good or ill now. So the bursting of China’s various asset bubbles drops both energy costs and global trade. The US buys Chinese goods, but the profits are then lent right back to the US as private investments & Treasury debt purchases to prop up the value of the US $. Same for Saudi Arabia and Japan. If they bring their money home to protect themselves, it’s unclear how we keep going.

        • Chinese goods will become cheaper, or at least not increase much in price. That will boost the US economy.

          I’d disagree that stocks and real estate are overpriced. We’re not seeing ‘bubble buying’.

          How do we keep going? We keep inventing and developing. We bring more of our spending home, especially energy. We keep reshoring manufacturing as possible. We enjoy lower cost imports and energy costs. We push efficiency.
          We can improve things even more by adjusting income spreads. Lowering the cost of higher education. Improving public education. Creating economic opportunities in places where jobs are the most difficult to find. Rebuilding our infrastructure. Converting from fossil fuels to renewables.

          • You can’t pile up debt on macroeconomic levels forever(*).. the interest transfers from the debtors to the creditors strangle that ponzi-scheme with 100% certainty. The following bankruptcy of the debtors then pulls the creditors with them.


        • In agreement:

          “…economists seldom call recessions, downturn, recoveries or periods of boom, unless they are staring them in the face. We believe this may be one of these times” from

          Margin debt on stocks at $500B (just off a 20-year record) meaning $1T of US stocks will get sold to meet or avoid margin calls. Selling in progress. From:

          Shiller CASE stock index at long term unsustainable levels – Dow needs to get back to around 11,000-13,000 to return to 140 year avg. “Reversion to mean” is a statistical inevitability.

          China is slowing down and the resultant decline in commodities prices is tanking the economies of resource countries. Flight to dollar will make foreign goods cheap in US but $-denominated debt defaults in emerging markets will have a knock on effect in the US.

  • Nobody on this website proofreads before they post do they? I’ve noticed MANY spelling errors over the past …. 7 or 8 months

    > eight coking mines

    • A coking mine produces coking coal, or coke. Americans are fond of calling it metallurgical coal on account of how it is used to smelt iron ore. Chinese coke mines quality tends to be mediocre at best and costly to extact, hence eight mines shut down in face of lower prices stemming from lower demand.

  • In the US the total number coal mining jobs is about 80,000. This one company is laying off 100,000 people That is more people than in the US coal industry. China produces about 4 times the coal that the US does. So for the US to produce the same amount of coal china uses the US industry would need 300,000 employees. After the layoff this one company will still have 100,000 employees. It appears that there are at least a dozen lard coal mining companies in China.

    In the US most mines use mechanical coal removal machines and, large trucks and conveyor belts to get the coal from the mine to the shipping terminal. The picture at the start of this article is one you will not see in the modern US mining industry. Chin’s coal industry doesn’t appear to be very efficient.

    Add to that the cost of labor in china has been increasing very rapidly, and wind solar and nuclear growing faster then anywhere else in the world. This all paints a picture to me of an industry that needs to increase the sales price of its product to get the funds to modernize so it can reduce its labor costs. All at a time of declining sales caused by anti pollution laws and growing renewable generation (wind solar, and hydro). China’s coal industry might collapse as fast as it was growing just 10 to 15 years ago.

Comments are closed.