China’s Vice Minister of Land and Resources, Min Wang, told institutional investors and analysts Monday that “tremendous exploration potential” exists below the 300-meter to 500-meter deep deposits which have traditionally been developed in the nation.
Min, who is a geologist, estimated that 400 exploration projects are now on-going in the country. In a presentation to the BMO Capital Markets 2007 Global Resources Conference in Tampa, Florida, the Vice Minister also affirmed that China will continue its policy of closing down small mineral deposits, instead, encouraging exploration for larger deposits.
Min estimated that China’s overall mineral exports increased 23.9% last year in the wake of a 100% increase in exports in 2005.
China mined 2.3 billion tons of coal, 280 million tons of coking coal, 588 million tons of iron ore, 80 million tons of non-ferrous metals, and 240 tonnes of gold in 2006, according to Min. The nation also manufactured 480 million tons of steel, he added.
Among the challenges to the sustainable development of China’s mining industry are environmental protection, security of production, and developing policies and procedures for those who oversee mining projects.
Min said the Chinese Government is also working to speed up the process for mining operation start-ups. In the past, rampant speculation among mining promoters prompted the Chinese government to slow down the procedure to transform exploration rights into mineral rights, he explained.
In the meantime, Chinese mining companies are being encouraged by China’s Central Government to conduct their mining and exploration activities in compliance with the local laws of the nations in which they are operating, according to Min.