V. Achieving the Coordinated Development of Mineral
Resources Exploitation and Environmental Protection

Mineral resources prospecting and exploitation will change and affect the ecological environment around the mining areas. The Chinese government attaches great importance to environmental protection and the prevention and control of pollution in the course of exploiting and utilizing mineral resources, and strives for simultaneous development in mineral resources exploitation and environmental protection and pollution control. Environmental protection, pollution control and land rehabilitation in mining areas are explicitly stipulated in laws and regulations China has published and implemented. The Chinese government will continue to improve environmental protection in mining areas, and strengthen the work in the following aspects:

— Continuing to adhere to the principle of placing equal stress on the exploitation and utilization of mineral resources and the protection of the ecological environment, by putting prevention first and combining prevention with control. We shall strictly adhere to the system of environmental impact evaluation reporting, the system of land rehabilitation and the system of collecting fees for pollutant discharge in mining areas. We shall strictly adhere to the system whereby the construction of mines goes hand in hand with the designing, constructing and commissioning of environmental protection facilities. Active guidance will be given to enterprises in organizing clean and safe production in the course of mineral resources prospecting and exploitation.

— Restricting the exploitation of mineral resources that produce considerable negative impacts on the ecological environment. Strict control will be enforced on prospecting and exploitation in national conservation and other areas where the ecological conditions are weak. Mineral resources exploitation is forbidden in national conservation, important scenic areas and important geological protection areas, and mineral resources exploitation in ecological protection areas is strictly restricted. We shall strictly prohibit coking, metal refining and smelting, sulfur and vanadium refineries with indigenous methods. We shall restrict the building or rebuilding of mines producing coal with a sulfur content exceeding 1.5%, and prohibit the building of mines producing coal with a sulfur content exceeding 3%. We shall restrict the exploitation of mineral resources in areas liable to geological disasters, and prohibit the exploitation of mineral resources in areas with real danger from geological disasters. Unauthorized exploitation of mineral resources within a given distance on both sides of railway lines and major highways is forbidden.

— Evaluating the impact on the ecological environment before starting a new mineral resources exploitation project. Measures shall be taken to protect the ecological environment, avoid or reduce adverse effects or damage caused to the air, water, farmland, grasslands, forests and seas. A program for the exploitation and utilization of mineral resources shall include a plan for the protection of water and soil, a plan for land rehabilitation, a plan for the prevention and control of geological disasters in mining areas and an evaluation report on geological environmental impacts. These documents shall be submitted for approval as stipulated. We shall exercise stricter supervision and management over the control of the “three wastes” in mines, and strictly control the discharge of waste gas in accordance with the criteria stipulated by the state. We shall strengthen the control of poisonous and harmful waste water and other pollutants produced in mines, and offenders shall be severely dealt with.

— Strengthening the investigation and monitoring of the environment and the prevention and control of disasters in mining areas. The government shall organize nationwide investigations and evaluations of the ecological environment in mining areas. Mining enterprises shall strengthen investigation, monitoring, forecasting and early warning of disasters possibly induced in the course of the development of mines, promptly take effective measures to prevent and control them, and submit monitoring reports to the competent departments of the local governments. An information network shall be established and emergency anti-disaster plans shall be worked out to prevent sudden disasters at the maximum.

— Setting up a multi-source investment mechanism for environmental protection in mining areas. We shall establish an agreement-honoring system for environmental protection and land rehabilitation in mining areas, and adopt government guidance and market operation to ensure the effective restoration and improvement of the environment there. With regard to abandoned mines and old mines, the state will strengthen the restoration and improvement of the ecological environment on the basis of demonstration projects, and encourage investment in this regard from society at large. We shall set up an investment mechanism for environmental control in mines still in production, with the mining enterprises playing the leading role. The enterprises shall provide the funds for environmental protection in new mines.