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LONDON, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Chinese producers of coking coal used in steelmaking are dragging their heels on government calls to boost production because they are benefiting from a rally in prices, according to Vale SA, the world's top iron ore producer.
"Producers of metallurgical coal are very pleased and don't have to increase production because today their mines are more profitable than they were in the past," Vale Chief Executive Murilo Ferreira told reporters in London on Thursday.
Roger Downey, Vale's executive officer for coal, concurred: "They are producing less and earning more, so they are resistant to increasing output."
Prices for coking coal have surged 125 percent on the Dalian Commodity Exchange this year after Beijing decided to limit the number of days coal mines could operate.
Beijing recently reversed course and allowed mines to increase the number of days per year that they operate, partly in an effort to tame prices.
Reporting by Maytaal Angel; editing by Jason Neely