China's Xinjiang Land and Resources Office said today that the province discovered new natural resources, among which, coal reserves totaled 18.98 billion tons.

Xinjiang coal resources are predicted to amount to 2.19 trillion tons, accounting for 40 percent of the country. But as it is far away from the mainland market, transport costs remain high.

In recent years, the enormous energy and mineral resource potentiality in Xinjiang in western China has aroused great concern in social funds. Until 2007, there have been more than 20 domestic and foreign companies entering the region to prospect and develop mineral resources, such as China Shenhua, Luneng and Baosteel group, and the investment in the coal industry leapt to 100 billion Yuan ($14.3 billion).

In November 2007, the railway construction from Xinjiang capital Urumqi to Junggar-Eastern was started. The eastern part of the Junggar Basin holds up to 370 billion tons of coal reserves. It serves as the main coal base of the coal electricity and coal chemical industry in Xinjiang.

The local government plans to supply the mainland market by transforming the coal resources electricity chemical products and then sending them through transmission lines or pipelines.

At present, Xinjiang annual output amounts to around 50 million tons. According the further development plan of Xinjiang, the province's coal production will account for more than 20 percent of the total output in China till 2020, up to 1 billion tons.