China plans to develop a 7.1 billion-ton coal mining region in its Gansu province, which will become one of the biggest energy bases in north-west China.

The plans to develop the Ningzheng mining region, which is spread across 1,100km2, will now proceed following approval from the National Development and Reform Commission.

The region is expected to produce 20 million tons of coal per annum once construction is complete, according to BloombergUTV.

A proportion of the coal produced in the region will be converted on-site into other forms of energy, while other portions will be sent to other regions.

The proposal will help further develop the Gansu province, which earlier lagged behind in terms of development.

There has been rapid development activity in the Gansu province over the past decade following discovery of abundant gold resources.

Several small mining companies have discovered large amounts of gold in the province, which has resulted in major Chinese mining companies showing keen interest in the region.

This interest could lead to consolidation with small miners to capitalise on discovery of large mineral resources in the region.