This chapter examines the impact of coal mining on economic growth and poverty reduction in Yunnan and Guizhou. In Yunnan, coal contributed to economic growth but did not significantly reduce poverty, largely due to the volume, distribution, and structure of the coal industry. In Guizhou coal production probably impeded economic development, although it did reduce poverty, primarily through smaller-scale town and village enterprise (TVE) mines based in the Guizhou poor counties. Although the geographical distribution of coal resources contributed to this pattern, policy decisions made by the provinces and the central government were also crucial. But the effects of coal mining on poverty reduction must be weighed against its substantial risks. The dangers inherent in the industry make it difficult to advocate a policy in which TVE coal mining is promoted to reduce poverty.
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