China expects to lay off 1.8 million workers in the coal and steel sectors as part of its efforts to reduce industrial overcapacity, an official at the human resources and social security ministry said on Monday.

Yin Weimin, minister of human resources and social security, said capacity cuts will lead to some layoffs in 2016, but added that he was confident of keeping employment stable this year despite downward pressure on the economy.

No timeframe was given for the 1.8 million figure cited.

China aims to remove around 500 million tonnes of coal production capacity within the next three to five years and halt approvals of all new projects.