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Coal mining operation led to subsidence in Hejin, Shanxi, China

Coal mining in Hejin led to subsidence and cracks in the houses and left local residents with unsatisfactory relocation plans and livelihood interruptions.


According to a Greenpeace report published in 2015, 2.3 million population in Shanxi Province in China was affected by land subsidence due to coal mining as of 2015, which is 1.8 times the population affected by the relocation due to the Three Georges Dam project [1]. Land subsidence is defined by the US geological survey as the gradual settling or sudden sinking of the Earth's surface due to the removal or displacement of subsurface earth materials or groundwater". In addition to the livelihood struggles for local residents, the coal mining activities also caused pollution and damage to air, water and land [1]. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Coal mining operation led to subsidence in Hejin, Shanxi, China
State or province:Shanxi
Location of conflict:Hejin
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Coal extraction and processing
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Xiahua County is home to a number of coal mines such as Shanxi Shuguang Chuanwo coal mine [3] and Hejin Xuehugou coal mine [4].

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Type of populationRural
Affected Population:10,000
Start of the conflict:01/01/2008
Company names or state enterprises:Shanxi Shuguang Coal Coke Group Co., Ltd. from China - Owner of one of the coal mines in Xiahua county
Huozhou Coal and Electricity Group from China - Owner of one of the coal mines in Xiahua county
Relevant government actors:- Xiahua County government
- Hejin municipality government
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Forms of mobilization:Media based activism/alternative media
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Potential: Global warming
Other Environmental impactsLand subsidence
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The projects remain in operation, while the local villagers were mostly relocated. It is unknown to what extent the environmental restoration will be undertaken by the coal mining companies.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

赵群帅. 山西煤矿采空区失地农民问题研究——以河津市下化乡为例. (Master dissertation, 山西财经大学).
[click to view]

[1] “山西露天采煤毁坏黄河水土保持工作调查 ,” Jul. 2015. Accessed: Dec. 15, 2021. [Online]. Available:
[click to view]

[2] “下化乡_百度百科,” Baidu Baike. (accessed Dec. 15, 2021).
[click to view]

[3] “Chuanwo Coal Mine,” Global Energy Monitor, Nov. 2021. (accessed Jan. 06, 2023).
[click to view]

[4] “Hejin Xuehugou Coal Mine,” Global Energy Monitor, Aug. 03, 2022. (accessed Jan. 09, 2023).
[click to view]

[5] X. Wu, “河津市在全省率先完成采煤沉陷区搬迁工作——‘搬’出来的幸福,” Apr. 25, 2022. (accessed Jan. 09, 2023).
[click to view]

[6] Z. Hu, “山西河津悬空村:采煤掏空村庄 逃不开,无路可去,” 中国青年报, Aug. 16, 2017. (accessed Dec. 17, 2021).
[click to view]

[7] Z. Hu, “《逃不开的悬空村》追踪:官方成立工作组驻村调查,” 新华网, Aug. 17, 2017. (accessed Dec. 17, 2021).
[click to view]

[8] N. Li, “山西河津回应‘新村成空村’ 村主任:验收报告已经丢失,” 央广网, Aug. 21, 2017. (accessed Jan. 14, 2022).
[click to view]

[9] N. Li, “新村质量堪忧不敢住 山西河津500村民住窑洞9年,” 央广网, Aug. 17, 2017. (accessed Jan. 14, 2022).
[click to view]

[10] J. Liang and H. Guan, “房屋开裂耕地塌陷 采空区村庄20年两度搬迁(图),” 中央电视台, Nov. 14, 2006. (accessed Jan. 14, 2022).
[click to view]

[11] “卢广 用镜头纪实,” 新文化报, Aug. 25, 2011. (accessed Jan. 14, 2022).
[click to view]

[12] “山西河津采煤沉陷区综合治理圆满收官,” 央广网, Jun. 15, 2022. (accessed Jan. 09, 2023).
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EJAtlas team
Last update09/01/2023
Conflict ID:5770
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