Qitaihe (Chinese: 七台河; pinyin: Qītáihé) is a prefecture-level city in eastern Heilongjiang province, People's Republic of China. Covering an area 6,223 km2 (2,403 sq mi), it is geographically the smallest prefecture-level division of the province. Qitaihe also has the second smallest population of the cities in Heilongjiang. At the 2010 census, its total population was 920,419, while 620,935 live in the built up area made of 3 urban districts.
Qitaihe's history can be stretched back to 3,000 years ago during the Shang and Zhou Dynasties, when it was inhabited by the ancient Sushen group, the ancestors of the Manchu. In 1910, coal resources was found in Qitaihe. However, coal mining industry did not really start until The CPC Committee of Heilongjiang Province ordered Hegang Mining Bureau to take charge of the Extractive industries in Boli County in 1958. Qitaihe began its development. On Jan 26, 1961, Boli Mining Bureau was established. The CPC Central Committee and State Council approved to establish Qitaihe District(七台河特区) as a pilot of the combination of enterprise management and government administration. In 1970, Qitaihe District was changed into Qitaihe City(County-level), which is under the jurisdiction of Jiamusi. In 1983, Qitaihe was designated a Prefecture-level city, and Boli County was put into Qitaihe's jurisdiction.
Qitaihe is rich in fresh water and minerals including coal, gold and graphite. There are 26 reservoirs in total . The water storage capacity of the city's Taoshan Reservoir is 264 million steres. Qitaihe has a total coal reserve of 5.3 billion tons, ranking third after Shuangyashan and Jixi in Heilongjiang Province.
Coal mining is an important industry. Qitaihe is the only pilot city for coal recycling in Heilongjiang. The city's GDP topped RMB 23.35 billion in 2009, featuring a growth of 26% over the previous year. Qitaihe is home to Qitaihe Coal Mining Group and Qitaihe No.1 Power Generation Company.
The city's water and air are heavily polluted due to the coal mining and burning industries, and there's a overproof amount of radon gas existing in the city's air. Although no official statistics has ever been conducted, it is generally believed that the city has one of the most cancerogenic living conditions in the country. Lung cancer caused by pollutions leads to most of the death poll of the people in the city.
The Tumen-Jiamusi Railway and the Boli-Qitaihe Railway connect the city with Mudanjiang, Jiamusi and other cities in Heilongjiang. Jiamusi Airport, Jixi Airport and Mudanjiang Airport, which offers regular flights to other domestic cities in China, are less than two hours away.