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Mining Companies Urged to Register
The country's mining authorities have urged Chinese enterprises intending to explore overseas mineral resources to register their development projects with the newly established Ministry of Commerce.

The new policy will help Chinese mineral enterprises play a more active role in the international mineral market, according to an official with the Ministry of Land and Resources.

Huang Zongli, director of the ministry's Department of International Co-operation, Science and Technology, said yesterday the new measure can help the government obtain more thorough information in this field, and, in turn, help those Chinese enterprises explore world markets.

Huang pointed out that relevant departments of the Ministry of Commerce can help co-ordinate work in certain cases to avoid damaging competition between Chinese companies.

The overseas investment of Chinese mineral enterprises has seen noticeable increases over the past few years, but a lack of a co-ordinating mechanism has left some Chinese enterprises fighting for the same international contracts by irrationally forcing prices down, according to Huang.

"Even when one of them has eventually won the contract, the profit margin is rather limited. Contracts can be won through mutual compromises and joint effort," said Huang.

When asked what preferential policies Chinese investors might need when investing in overseas mineral resources, Li Jindong, a leading geology and mineral official of Central China's Hunan Province, highlighted the government's risk sharing, especially at the prospecting stage, which costs over 10 million yuan (US$1.2 million) in most cases.

"That cost is daunting for most Chinese mineral enterprises, which have less funds and experience than their foreign competitors. The government will try to help domestic mineral enterprises develop," Li said.

The Hunan provincial mineral authority will participate in a joint investment in the sylvite mines of Thailand.

(China Daily May 20, 2003)

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