BEIJING, Nov. 25 (UPI) — China says it will spend about $17.6 billion for a second rail link to northwestern Xinjiang Uighur, its major coal production region near Tibet.
Construction on the passenger rail link project is expected to begin next year, with finances coming from the federal and local governments and other sources, Xinhua reported Tuesday.
The rail line will go through Gansu, Qinghai and Xinjiang provinces and will facilitate the transport of agricultural products and coal, relieving congestion on the existing 1,175-mile line from Gansu’s capital Lanzhou to Xinjiang.
When the project is completed, the existing railway will become a cargo line, the report said.
The announcement comes in the wake of the discovery of a 23-billion ton coalfield in Xinjiang.
Xinjiang province with total estimated coal reserves of up to 2.19 trillion tons accounts for 40.5 percent of China’s total coal reserves. The province is near Mongolia to the east, Russia to the north and Pakistan and India to the west.