China is moving to increase the clout of its state-owned coal giants, as it seeks to clean up a sprawling and heavily polluting industry that is nevertheless crucial to its energy needs. In a policy proposal unveiled Thursday, the State Council, China’s cabinet, said it wants big corporate champions to manage the economic development and environmental consequences of the industry, which also has a slew of smaller operators. The government said it would “encourage the consolidation of coal companies, with large-scale companies as the main body, building large-scale modern coal mines within large-scale coal bases.” Analysts said the proposal also puts the industry more firmly under the control of Beijing. The new measures “protect state-owned enterprises as much as they protect the environment,” said North Square Blue Oak energy analyst Miao Tian. In helping state-owned giants to assert their position in the industry, Beijing may be conceding it can’t […]