II. Targets and Principles for Mineral Resources Protection
and Rational Utilization

In the first 20 years of the 21st century, China will build a well-off society in an all-round way, so the total demand for mineral resources will continue to increase. China will strengthen its survey, prospecting, exploitation, planning, management, protection and rational utilization of mineral resources, implement the strategy of sustainable development, take a new road to industrialization, and strive to increase the ability of the mineral resources to guarantee its socio-economic development. China will continue to increase the economic returns, social benefits and environmental benefits of the mineral resources to the full by implementing an effective policy concerning mineral resources in accordance with the requirements of surveying and exploiting mineral resources in an orderly way and with compensation, striking a balance between supply and demand, optimizing composition, and seeking intensive development and high efficiency.

China’s general targets for the protection and rational utilization of its mineral resources in the early 21st century are:

— To increase the ability of the mineral resources to guarantee the building of a well-off society in an all-round way. We shall raise the effective input into mineral resources prospecting and exploitation, increase the range and depth of prospecting and exploitation, strengthen the protection of mineral resources, and increase their supply. We shall open still wider to the outside world and take an active part in international cooperation. We shall also establish a reserve system for strategic resources, lay up necessary reserves of mineral resources vital to the national economy and the people’s livelihood, and ensure the safety of the country’s economy as well as the sustained and safe supply of mineral commodities.

— To promote the improvement of the ecological environment of the mines. We shall reduce and control pollution and damage to the environment of the mineral resources caused in the production links of mining, dressing and smelting or refining and bring about a benign cycle in the exploitation of mineral resources and protection of the ecological environment; improve the laws and regulations for environmental protection in mining areas, and exercise still stricter examination and supervision over the law enforcement concerning the control of the ecological environment of the mines; and increase publicity and education to raise the awareness of the mining enterprises and the whole society regarding the importance of resources environmental protection.

— To create a development environment for fair competition. In light of the requirements for establishing a socialist market economic system and the operation law governing mineral resources exploration and exploitation, we shall further improve the laws and regulations concerning the management of mineral resources; adjust and perfect the policy on mineral resources; improve the investment environment; provide excellent information service; and create an open, orderly, sound and unified market environment in which all market subjects can compete on an equal footing.

To attain the above targets, China will continue to adhere to the following principles:

— Persisting in the strategy of sustainable development. We shall implement the measures for protecting resources and correctly handle the relations between economic development and resources protection; exploit resources in the course of protection and protect them in the course of exploitation; strengthen mineral resources prospecting; exploit mineral resources in a rational way and economize on their utilization; strive to increase efficiency in the utilization of resources; and open a new road to industrialization featuring high sci-tech content, good economic returns, low resources consumption, less environmental pollution, and full play to the advantages of human resources.

— Adhering to the orientation of reform toward establishing a market economic system. Under the guidance of the state industrial policy and plan, we shall give full play to the basic role of the market in the allocation of mineral resources, and establish a mechanism for optimum resources allocation combining government macro control with market operation. We shall strengthen control over the total quantity of mineral resources exploitation, foster and standardize the prospecting and mining rights market, promote the diversification of mineral resources exploration, exploitation and investment and the standardization of business operation, and earnestly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the state owners and the holders of exploration and mining rights.

— Persisting in balanced development between regional mineral resources prospecting and exploitation and environmental protection. We shall work out unified plans and correctly handle the relations between eastern and western regions, between well-developed and less-developed regions, between prospecting and exploitation, between state-owned mining enterprises and non-state-owned mining enterprises, and between scale exploitation and excavation by small mines. We shall further implement the strategy of large-scale development of the western regions, accelerate exploration and exploitation of mineral resources in the western regions, especially the dominant minerals and minerals in short supply at home, support mining towns and old mines in their search for substitute resources, and promote the balanced development of regional economies and the healthy development of mineral resources prospecting and exploitation. We shall persist in combining mineral resources exploitation with attention to the interests of the regions inhabited by ethnic minorities, and strengthen the protection, restoration and control of the mining environment on the principle of putting prevention first and combining prevention with control.

— Persisting in widened opening-up and cooperation with other countries. We shall improve the investment environment, encourage and attract foreign investors to prospect for and exploit mineral resources in China. We shall promote international cooperation in mineral resources, and make such cooperation mutually complementary and beneficial in accordance with the rules of the WTO and international convention.

— Persisting in making sci-tech progress and innovations. We shall implement the strategy of rejuvenating the nation by reliance on science and technology; strengthen efforts in tackling key technological problems and popularizing and applying technological achievements in the investigation and assessment of mineral resources and their prospecting and exploitation and multipurpose use and in the prevention and control of environmental pollution in mining areas; strengthen the R & D of high and new technologies involved in the development of new energy sources, new material technologies and marine mineral resources; and improve basic research on new theories, new methods and new technologies. We shall improve the quality of the workers; train a contingent of sci-tech personnel with mastery of advanced scientific theories and the ability to make innovations in mineral resources prospecting and exploitation; and promote the transformation of the prospecting and exploitation from a traditional industry to a modern industry, from a labor-intensive industry to a technology-intensive industry, and from extensive management to intensive management.

— Persisting in managing mineral resources strictly according to law. We shall improve the legal system, endeavor to promote administration according to law, and exercise stricter supervision and control over mineral resources prospecting and exploitation. We shall rectify and standardize the rules for mineral resources management, and strive to advance mineral resources protection and rational utilization along legal, standardized and scientific lines.