The Kaiping Mines
By Ellsworth C. Carlson, 1971
Chapter I Origins and Early Development of the Kaiping Enterprise
Late in 1877, a Chinese newspaper, the Shen pao, amounted that one of China’s foremost officials, Li Hung-chang [Li Hongzhang], and a former treaty port compradore, T’ang T’ing-shu [Tang Tingshu], were establishing a modern, large-scale coal mining enterprise in the Kaiping area of Chihli [Zhili]. Between 1878 and 1900 the hopes of Li and T’ang were largely fulfilled. Production with modern mining machinery and methods actually got under way in 1881, and in the following years the Chinese enterprise became a major supplier of coal in the China market. Although the company faced many problems, some of which were never completely solved, on the whole the enterprise was quite successful until 1900. In 1900-1901, however, British interests took advantage of the company’s need for more capital and for protection from difficulties arising out of the Boxer Rebellion, and assume control of the mines. The mines were then operated by a British company until 1912, by which time the annual production rate had risen to more than 1,400,000 tons. Then in 1912, the British-controlled Kaiping Mines and a rival Chinese enterprise, the Lan-chou Official Mining Company [Luanzhou], which had been organized in 1907, merged their operations under the Kailan Mining Administration [Kailuan], which operated as a Sino-British undertaking until the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.