With the recently announced climate neutrality for the year 2060, there are plenty of questions in China about the future and the existence of the hard coal mining industry. With an annual production of 4 billion tons of hard coal, China remains the biggest producer of this resource. The consequences for the environment are tremendous. Climate neutrality poses new challenges for this country with its abundance of resources: hard coal is still the easiest and safest way to guarantee the supply of energy to its citizens, whereby energy security is a high priority. The switch to and the integration of renewable energies has already started and, according to the latest 14th five-year plan, should become the main driver of growth in the coming years. The transition to green development with a low carbon economy as one of the most important objectives is imminent. These developments will have a decisive impact on the next few years and will drive structural change forward. Since China also has large reserves of rare earths, which are required in particular for the construction of regenerative energy options. But here, too, only one environmental problem is shifted to the next, since the recycling of rare earths has not yet been developed and the sustainability factor is a big question mark. What impact this will have in terms of sustainability and environmental protection is identified in the research project.