Most of China's mineral reserves remain unexplored

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China has a large amount of unexplored mineral resources, as only 36 percent of the country's mineral deposits have been discovered thus far, the Ministry of Land and Resources said Thursday.

An survey of China's potential mineral resources showed that by the end of 2010, the exploration rate of China's iron ore stood at 27 percent, while that of bauxite was only 19 percent, the ministry said in a report.

For petroleum, only 26 percent of the country's oil deposits have been prospected, and 85 percent of natural gas reserves remained unexplored, said the report.

Zhang Hongtao, chief engineer of the ministry, said China has spent 370.8 billion yuan (58.4 billion U.S.dollars) on geographical surveying and found 2,839 new mines and reserves in the past five years.

China has also become a giant in mineral consumption and production, said Zhang. From 2006 to 2010, China's coal output rose 28 percent to 2.53 billion metric tons, while crude oil output climbed 10 percent to 203 million metric tons.

In 2009, China produced 97 percent of the world's total rare earth output, while its rare earth reserves only accounted for 36 percent of global deposits, he said.

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