China’s coal shortages will ease in the second half of the year as production at large mines increases, the State Administration of Work Safety told a press conference in Beijing on Saturday. This means the administration will continue with its purge of smaller, unsafe mines in order to improve industry safety standards, Bloomberg reported. "Closing small mines has nothing to do with the shortfall," said Wang Dexue, the administration’s vice minister. According to State Grid Corp of China, power plant closures due to coal shortages had robbed the country of 3% of its coal-powered electricity-generating capacity as of July 25. China closed 11,155 small mines with a collective capacity of less than 200 million metric tons by the end of last year. Deaths from coal mine accidents fell 24% to 1,631 in the first seven months of 2008.