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[en] Although China owns large coal reserves, it now faces the problem of depletion of its coal resources in advance. The coal-based energy mix in China will not change in the short term, and a means of delaying the coal resources depletion is therefore urgently required. The residual coal was exploited first with a lower recovery percentage and was evaluated as commercially valuable damaged coal. This approach is in comparison to past evaluations when the residual coal was allocated as exploitation losses. Coal recovery rates, the calculation method of residual coal reserves and statistics of its mines in China were given. On this basis, a discussion concerning the impacts on the delay of China's coal depletion, development of coal exploitation and sustainable developments, as well as technologies and relevant policies, were presented. It is considered that the exploitation of residual coal can effectively delay China's coal depletion, inhibit the construction of new mines, redress the imbalance between supply and demand of coal in eastern China, improve the mining area environment and guarantee social stability. The Chinese government supports the exploitation technologies of residual coal. Hence, exploiting residual coal is of considerable importance in sustainable development of the coal industry in China. - Highlights: •Pay attention to residual coal under changing energy-mix environment in China. •Estimate residual coal reserves and investigate its exploitation mines. •Discuss impacts of residual coal exploitation on delay of coal depletion in China. •Discuss impacts on coal mining industry and residual coal exploitation technology. •Give corresponding policy prescriptions.