Resource-hungry China successful in finding new mines

Sep 12, 2014 12:00 AM

China has been more successful at finding new mines over the past three years than at any point since 1949, a Chinese mining official said.

With the country in desperate need of more natural resources to fuel its rapid growth, Chinese prospectors found 451 medium-sized and large mines of materials from oil to uranium between the start of 2011 and the end of 2013, according to Peng Qiming, director of the geological exploration department of the Ministry of Land and Resources.

"Our mine-finding efforts over the past three years have turned out the most remarkable results since 1949," said Peng at a press conference in Beijing.

In the three years, the geological prospecting activities added 3.95 billion metric tons of petroleum and 2.3 trillion cubic meters of natural gas to China's new deposits, he said. The country consumed 167.6 billion cubic meters of natural gas last year.

Other new discoveries included 188.6 billion tonnes of coal deposits, a large uranium mine in Inner Mongolia, 9.25 billion tonnes of iron ore deposits, 15.07 million tonnes of copper mine deposits and 11 million tonnes of molybdenum mine deposits, according to the official.

The ministry also completed a quantitative study on 25 types of mineral resources in China and concluded that the country's resources already prospected account for just one-third of the potential mines.

To fund this prospecting, China spent 350 billion yuan (about 57 billion U.S. dollars), 28 percent more than between 2008 and 2010.

Over 85 percent of the funding came from the private sector, following the government's unveiling of an action plan to lure more private investment into mine prospecting between 2011 and 2020.

The world's largest energy consumer, China relies heavily on imports to meet its demand for resources, particularly in oil, natural gas and iron ore.

Policymakers have been working in recent years to diversify the source of energy supply, and tapping domestic resource deposits and developing renewable energy are considered important ways of doing so.

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