China will stick to its rigid land supply policy as well as boost efforts to find new mineral resources, the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) said on Friday.
The central government has sent a clear message in the past two years that it will rein in soaring real estate prices by tightening land supply, said Hu Cunzhi, head of the MLR's planning department.
Statistics show that housing prices have gone up by as much as 50 to 70 percent in two years, and for big cities like Shanghai, Beijing and Hangzhou the percentage rise is even higher, reports said.
Hu said that it is a complicated process to adjust housing prices, and land supply is only one factor. He said that local governments have the final say on adjusting land supply for commercial houses.
Last year saw an increase of construction-use land of 432,000 hectares, including 98,200 hectares in urban areas, according to an annual report on China's land and resources publicized by Hu's ministry on Friday.
Land authorities also found that 362,400 hectares of land were left unused in urban areas by the end of 2004.
Hu pointed out that under the current regulations, penalties will be given to developers if the land has not been put to use within two years.
The nation dealt with about 80,000 land-related cases in 2005, helping the nation take back 6,993 hectares of land, said the report.
In rural areas, many disputes were caused by inadequate compensation for land that was acquired by local governments, said Li Xiaoyun, a professor from China Agricultural University.
In terms of minerals exploration, 2005 saw the discovery of 169 new large and medium-sized mines, including 40 energy resources mines, three metal mines and 44 non-ferrous metal mines.
Among the major minerals, deposits of oil, natural gas, coal, iron, manganese, lead and gold were on the rise; while chrome, copper, tin, phosphor and kalium declined.
According to the report, statistics indicate that the import and export volume of mineral products surpassed US$300 billion last year, with a growing import of major mineral resources such as crude oil, iron and manganese ore.
There are now more than 80 international enterprises that conduct mineral exploration and development in China.
(China Daily April 15, 2006)