Coal mining has resulted in the subsidence of large areas and environmental degradation even though it improved local economy, the bank said.

The Huainan mining area rehabilitation project will target around 200km┬▓ of former mining areas, which account for about 7% of the municipality’s land.

The project will help clean up and close dump sites, enhance the storm water drainage system, and add vegetation and landscaping.

It will finance the construction of roads and related basic infrastructure and support economic redevelopment.

World Bank senior water resources management specialist and the project task team leader Xiaokai Li said: "By applying international good practices in remediation and redevelopment of mining subsidence areas, we hope to help the Huainan Municipal Government redevelop the mining area into a ‘green heart’ for the city to benefit the local communities.

"As the first operation of its type supported by the World Bank in China, the project can provide valuable experience for other regions facing the challenge of how bringing obsolete and degraded mining areas back to good and greener use."