Beijing: Hit by a spate of coal mine blasts recently, China has halted over 450 illegal mining projects and ordered 850 mines to suspend operations in resource-rich Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

The mines were unlicensed, harassed the life of local residents, or failed to properly compensate for the use of grassland, the state-run media reported quoted officials of the regional land and resources bureau.

The bureau checked about 9,000 mining projects in the months-long overhaul, halting 467 illegal projects, ordering 887 mines to suspend operations and permanently shutting down 73 mines.

In a bid to build "harmonious mines" the government defused 100 disputes between local herders and mining companies last year while establishing an effective mechanism among the government, mines, and local residents to settle mining disputes through dialogue, the report said.

Inner Mongolia ordered an overhaul of the mining sector, originally scheduled for one month but was extended, after protests against grassland mining broke out last May in the wake of the death of a Mongolian herder during a dispute between miners and herders.

The regional coal mine industry bureau promptly ordered local work safety watchdogs to strengthen supervision of coal mines to ensure safe production practises, protection of the environment, and attention to the welfare of local residents.

Inner Mongolia holds the China's largest coal reserves estimated to be 770.3 billion tonnes by the end of 2011 and rich deposit of other mines such as iron ore and rare earth metals.

(Agencies)