Mine reclamations change face of Inner Mongolia
The mine reclamations taking place in North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region have delivered huge results, returning the once-damaged mining landscape back to verdant and lush grasslands.
In the past, thousands of mines ripped open gaping holes into the grasslands of the region, as they scoured for its rich coal and rare earth resources.
But by early June this year, Inner Mongolia had already developed 360 green mines, with 47 recognized at the national level.
As an important environmental security barrier in northern China, Inner Mongolia has made its environmental protection and green development a top priority in recent years.
In 2017, it issued the country's first green mines construction plan implemented in the name of a government at the provincial level.
In 2020, it launched the "Implementation Plan for Mine Environmental Treatment in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region" in order to clarify and comprehensively control various mining environmental practices and problems.
In 2021, the "Regulations on Geological Environmental Protection of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region" were officially implemented. These included formally inserting green mine construction targets into the region's regulations for the first time and they paved the way for the legal system and institutional standards for green mine construction to become better.
At present, Inner Mongolia is vigorously carrying out the environmental restoration of the region's mines. Furthermore, it has combined the management of open-pit mines in concentrated mining areas and now prohibits the development of mineral resources that have a significant impact on the environment.
The Shengli No 1 open-pit coal mine in Xiliinhot city in Xiliin Gol League is often cited as a prime example of Inner Mongolia's program to radically improve conditions at its mines.
This national-level green mine -- located on the Xiliin Gol Prairie -- invested about 100 million yuan in its environmental restoration program in 2021 alone, the equivalent to nearly 4 yuan per metric ton of coal that was produced.
Now, on one of its green hills, which is more than 50 meters high, micro-sprinkler drip irrigation facilities cover the surrounding area and the fine mist waters caragana and alfalfa growing on the slope.
If it weren't for the closed and rusting coal conveyor belt spanning the mine's east and west sections, it would be hard to believe that is actually a working mine.