U.S. industrialist Armand Hammer said Saturday transportation and equipment problems at his huge joint venture coal mine in northern China will be ironed out by Jan. 1, enabling it to meet an annual production goal of 15 million tons.

But the Occidental Petroleum Corp. chairman indicated a $9 million dispute is brewing with a Kansas-based company over a coal-drying system that fell short of specifications and set back production this year.The $650 million Antaibao open cast mine in northern Shanxi Province, a joint venture between China and the Island Creek Coal Co. unit of Occidental, was to produce more than 15 million tons of coal a year.

Hammer said production will reach 6 million tons this year with 4 million tons destined for export.