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China Moves to Boost Zinc Imports
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The government may remove the export tax rebate on high-purity refined zinc in a move to promote zinc imports.

Plans are afoot to remove the 5-percent export tax rebate on zinc over 99.995 percent pure, Zhou Guobao, director of the lead and zinc division at the China Non-ferrous Metals Industry Association, was quoted by Shanghai Securities News as saying.

The proposal is subject to approval by the State Council, said Zhou, but did not elaborate when it will be implemented.

China's zinc demand will rise about 10 percent this year from last year's 3.4 million tons, said Zhou. Zinc prices will remain high at around 28,000 yuan to 30,000 yuan per ton in the domestic market, he added.

Zinc exports surpassed imports for the first time in October, a consequence of the price difference between domestic and overseas markets, said Feng Juncong, an analyst with Antaike Information Development Co Ltd, a State-owned non-ferrous metals information provider.

Zinc imports and exports will fluctuate over the next few months, but the nation will still remain a net zinc importer this year, she said.

"Small and outdated zinc mining capacity will be gradually phased out this year in accordance with the government's control policies," said Feng.

New lead and zinc mines will be blocked if their annual capacity is under 30,000 tons and the service period is less than 15 years, said a statement from the National Development and Reform Commission last month.

High raw-material prices led to frenzied zinc mine investments by major zinc companies last year, said Feng. Zinc smelters also expanded their production last year.

Chihong Zinc and Germanium Co Ltd, the listed subsidiary of Yunnan Metallurgical General Company, has issued an additional 35 million A shares to its parent for the acquisition of a lead and zinc mine in Zhaotong.

Huludao Zinc Industry Co Ltd said it will issue 300 million additional A shares to raise 120 million yuan to purchase a lead and zinc mine in Tibet.

(China Daily April 5, 2007)

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