Mineral resources are an important part of natural resources, and an important material foundation for the development of human society. Great achievements have been obtained in the survey and development of China’s mineral resources in the past five decades since the founding of New China. A great number of mineral resources have been verified, and a fairly complete system for the supply of mineral products has been established, providing an important guarantee for the sustained, rapid and healthy development of the Chinese economy. At present, over 92% of the country’s primary energy, 80% of the industrial raw and processed materials and more than 70% of the agricultural means of production come from mineral resources.

China attaches great importance to sustainable development and the rational utilization of mineral resources, and has made sustainable development a national strategy and the protection of resources an important part of this strategy. Immediately following the UN Environmental and Development Conference in 1992, the Chinese government took the lead in formulating the “China Agenda 21 — the White Paper on China’s Population, Environment and Development in the 21st Century.” It approved and implemented the “National Program on Mineral Resources” in April 2001, and, in January 2003, began to implement “China’s Program of Action for Sustainable Development in the Early 21st Century.”

To build a well-off society in an all-round way is China’s objective in the first 20 years of the new century. China will depend mainly on the exploitation of its own mineral resources to guarantee the needs of its modernization program. The Chinese government encourages the exploration and exploitation of the mineral resources in market demand, especially the dominant resources in the western regions, to increase its domestic capability of mineral resources supply. At the same time, it is an important government policy to import foreign capital and technology to exploit the country’s mineral resources, make use of foreign markets and foreign mineral resources, and help Chinese mining enterprises and mineral products enter the international market. The Chinese government holds that to have foreign mining companies enter China and Chinese mining enterprises enter other countries to make different countries mutually complementary in resources is of great significance for the common prosperity and healthy development of world mineral resources prospecting and exploitation.