China Shenhua Energy, the mainland's largest coal producer, has maintained a target to double output in five years or an average annual growth of 15 per cent, though this year's estimated growth is 9 per cent. To meet the long-term target, the company will continue to expand existing collieries and consider buying its parent's domestic coal mines, push ahead with development of resources in its Australian project and lobby for the right to develop a major coal interest in Mongolia. The company has set a target to increase coal output 8.9 per cent to 229 million tonnes this year from 210.3 million tonnes last year, according to its newly released annual report. It aims to raise sales, including in coal mined by other companies, by 7 per cent to 272 million tonnes. Chief financial officer Zhang Kehui said the five-year plan was in line with its parent's plan to double output between next year and 2015. Shenhua president Ling Wen said two years ago the parent, Shenhua Group Corp, aimed to achieve an 'overall flotation' plan by injecting assets into the listed unit over two to three years. 'We are still sticking to our principle of injecting assets one by one as they meet our criteria,' he said yesterday. 'Whether it is domestic or overseas coal mines or renewable energy projects, the minimum internal rate of return is 10 per cent.' Former chairman Chen Biting said at the time the parent had six coal mines in the Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang regions that were not yet part of the listed unit. The mines had a combined reserve of 5.98 billion tonnes, based on mainland appraisal standards, and annual output of 55.72 million tonnes. Reserves by international standards are usually much smaller than the mainland. Shenhua had recoverable coal reserves of 6.93 billion tonnes by the internationally recognised JORC standard at the end of last year. Although farmers in New South Wales, Australia, complained that proposed coal mining projects could damage water aquifers that affect their livelihood, Ling said land requisition efforts at its Watermark project in the state had seen better than expected progress. It agreed to pay A$600 million (HK$4.25 billion) in 2008 to explore for coal in a 195 sq km area, which is estimated to have about 500 million tonnes of coal with a potential mine life of 50 years, Reuters reported.