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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's plan to rapidly expand large coal mines and power plants in its arid northern and western provinces threatens to drain precious water supply and could trigger a severe water crisis, a report by environmental activists Greenpeace said on Tuesday.

China intends to boost coal production in provinces including Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Shaanxi and Ningxia, with output in those areas expected to reach 2.2 billion tons, or 56 percent of the country's forecast production of 3.9 billion tons, by 2015.

As part of the country's major overhaul of its power generation strategy, Beijing also plans to build 16 large coal-fired power stations in those provinces by 2015. Total installed capacity for the plants is expected to exceed 600 gigawatts.

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