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Actively Reclaim the Abandoned Mining Areas to Realize Fast and Healthy Development of Mining Cities


——Survey on Project of "Turning Abandoned Mines into Reclaimed Farmland" in Handan City

By Wang Hui, Institute of Public Administration and Human Resource of DRC, Jin Sanlin, Research Institute of Rural Economy of DRC & Jiang Haoduan, Information Center of DRC

Research Report No. 077, 2007

I. General Information on Reclamation of Abandoned Mining Areas in China

China is in the stage of speedy industrialization. The large scale exploitation of mining areas has occupied and wasted a great many of land resources, which has made the serious situation of arable land protection become more serious. According to the statistics, at present, the number of the damaged and abandoned land caused by various artificial factors is nearly 13.3 million hectares, accounting for 11% of the total arable land. The damaged land caused by ore mining totals nearly 60 million hectares, among which nearly 24 million acres are arable land. Take coal mining as an example, in 2005, the output of raw coal is about 2 billion tons, which is realized at the cost of 40 thousand to 66.7 thousand hectares of damaged land.

A large number of abandoned land by mines need reclamation. With the serious situation that national land resources supply is very limited, the reclamation of the abandoned mining areas is significant to slow the reduction of arable land and raise the efficiency of land use. According to the National Land Development and Consolidation Plan issued by the Ministry of Land and Resources, the reclamation of abandoned land can make up 1.53 million hectares of arable land, accounting for 11% of the total potential arable land. At present, the rate of national land reclaimed is 12%, which is far less than that of over 50% in foreign developed countries. Land is the root of national economy and people’s livelihood. Accelerating the reclamation of abandoned land by mines and to make up for the arable land is an important measures to implement scientific view of development, adhere to the most strict system of protecting arable land and realize the sustainable use of land. It is also very significant to restore and improve ecological environment, develop cycled economy, establish economic society, and promote the all-round coordinated and sustainable social and economic development of the society.

China has attached great importance to the work of land reclamation. It issued the Regulations on Land Reclamation in 1989 and National Land Development and Consolidation Plan in 2003, listing out 11 key regions of land reclamation including Jidong Coal and Steel Base. In 2006, RMB6.17 billion yuan was invested by central finance department to add 69.3 thousand hectares of arable land. In recent years, considering local features, some local governments have made a lot of achievements and acquired experiences through studying and implementing new modes and new mechanisms of reclaiming abandoned land by mines. Among them, the project of "Turning Abandoned Mines into Reclaimed Farmland" promoted by Handan City has made great effects in promoting the reclamation of abandoned mining areas, raising the efficiency of land use, and optimizing industrial structure. This measure has important implications and significance.

II. Major Measures and Problems in the Reclamation of Abandoned Land by Mines in Handan City

1. Major measures

With abundant mine resources, Handan city is one of the important steel and coal bases in China. Mine industry occupies an important place in the industrial structure. In the long course of development of mine industry, the total number of various mine enterprise had once exceeded 3000. The long-time and high-strength ore mining has resulted in negative ecological situation with deserted land, environmental deterioration in mining areas, and collapsed earth surface. Meanwhile, with close up of partial mine resources, regulation of mining industry, and adjustment of mining industry structure, over ten thousands of acres of abandoned land need reclamation. In order to effectively reclaim and improve the ecological environment of mining industry, economize and utilize land resources in mining areas, Handan city has invested more than RMB100 million yuan since 2003, and implemented the integrated regulation project of "Thousand Mines and More Acres". It has reclaimed the abandoned land by mines and other lands of nearly 1.3 thousand hectares, and has gained positive economic benefits, environmental benefits and social benefits. The major measures include:

Firstly, overall planning and step-by-step implementation. Based on investigation and survey in selected point by national land resources department, Handan City has made out the integrated regulation implementation plan of "Turning Abandoned Mines into Reclaimed Farmland", sticking to the policy that "the one who reclaims gain benefits" and in light of local conditions. From easy to difficult, the integrated regulation is carried out step by step. Meanwhile, comprehensive reclamation plan has been further formulated. 52 key mining areas for reclamation have been confirmed, which covers an area of reclamation of 3.73 thousand hectares. It has been planned to comprehensively rehabilitate the ecological environment in all the closed-up mines in two years.

Secondly, active guidance and effective encouragements. In order to solve the problem of lacking capital for the project, Handan City has established the multi-channel investment system with self-raised funds by beneficiary units as the major way, and other investment as supplement, bringing into full play of the government in guiding and promoting the project. Through the system of reclamation regulation fund subsidy, that is, national land resources department subsidizes RMB15 thousand yuan for the reclamation of every one hectare of land, with resources reserve funds as launching capital for the project, and local government, individuals and collectives are effectively encouraged to actively participate in the project of reclamation.

Thirdly, local conditions and integrated regulation should be considered. In the process of carrying out the project of "Turning Abandoned Mines into Reclaimed Farmland", Handan City has set out and formulated various kinds of regulation modes, such as turning waste residue and abandoned areas into land, for cultivation, into forest areas and scenery spots in light of local conditions. or using the underground earth and rocks to level the field.. These featured modes of reclamation, have maximally utilized various abandoned land by mines, and minimized the cost of reclamation, which have not only effectively improved the ecological environment of the mining areas, but also gained good economic benefits.

Fourthly, rectifying the order, and seeking both temporary and permanent solution to the problem. It is fundamental to rectify and regulate the order of exploring mining resources in realizing long-term regulation of abandoned land by mines. Handan City has formulated and implemented the work plan of "three regulations" that must be operated simultaneously—the combination of regulating disorder and regulating messy, the combination of rectification and conformity, and the combination of seeking temporary solution and permanent solution to the problem. Specifically speaking, regulating disorder means to strictly supervise illegal action in terms of prospecting and mining without license, or beyond the permitted areas; regulating messy means to formulate and implement the plan of integrating all the mine resources in Handan City, optimize and make all-round adjustment in the layout of the mining field, and to promote the exploration and utilization of resources; seeking permanent solution to the problems means to intensify the management of mining rights, drive the commercialization of mining rights, and promote the establishment of green mines targeting the project of "Thousand Mines and More Acres".

Besides, in the process of reclamation of the abandoned land by mines, basing on overall situation of regional economic development, starting from industrial transformation for the mining city, and solving problems related to mining industry, mines, mining city and miners, Handan City has explored the new trains of thoughts in reclaiming abandoned land by mines, and formulated "plan of optimizing the regulation of land for mines and layout of city land for construction". Through regulation and displacement of abandoned land by mines, under the precondition of assuring the total area of farmland, guaranteeing the quality, and maintaining the total number of land for construction, Handan City has optimized land distribution, and improved the industrial structure. Although the implementation of the plan is challenged by some limits, it is worthy of drawing lessons from the plan’s rationality and feasibility.


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