Chinese Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan has urged land and resources authorities to increase investment in resources exploration.
Speaking at an annual land and resources management meeting here on Wednesday, Zeng urged a combination of more spending and technological innovation to discover large mines.
He also urged stepped-up land management and control and the promotion of land conservation and intensive cultivation to ensure that the nation's arable land was kept at least 1.8 billion mu (120 million hectares).
At the meeting, Zeng gave the 10th Li Siguang Geological Science Award to 16 geologists for their outstanding research, field work and teaching.
The award is named after leading Chinese geologist Li Siguang, whose research led to the discovery of major natural gas and oil fields in the Daqing and Shengli regions.
(Xinhua News Agency February 2, 2008)