Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan yesterday urged China's mining industry to pay more attention to the environmental impact of its activities.
"We must ensure the long-term sustainability of our resource reserves and enhance the efficacy of exploration and land recovery following mining work completion," Zeng said on the opening day of the China Mining 2006 conference in Beijing.
"We encourage green initiatives in mining," Zeng yesterday told the conference, bringing together more than 2,000 officials, entrepreneurs and experts from around the world.
Zeng also warned that current high prices of major minerals on the global market are "unreasonable," hurting both consumers' and producers' long-term interests.
Being a major consumer and producer of minerals, the lion's share of China's future demand will be satisfied by domestic supplies, said Zeng, who also called for increased foreign investment in the nation's mining sector.
He further pointed out that investment in China's mining industry had increased four-fold over the past five years, while the sector "has clearly become an important driver in our nation's economic growth."
China enjoys favorable geological conditions for the formation of various minerals, but also has a poor exploration rate, said Deputy Minister of Land and Resources Wang Min.
An "exploration vacuum" exists in China's vast central and western regions, while great potential also exists in the nation's eastern areas, Wang noted.
Frequent fluctuations in international mineral prices do not bode well for the sector's long-term development, said Xiong Bilin, deputy director of the Department of Industry at the National Development and Reform Commission.
(China Daily November 15, 2006)