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Mining Rights A Top Priorty
The transfer of State-owned mining rights for a fee is a top priority in the country's agenda of building a resource market and has become more widely accepted since it was first adopted in 1998.

Statistics from the Ministry of Land and Resources indicates the practice has brought in 706 million yuan (US$85.3 million) in the first half of this year, more than last year's total of 459 million yuan (US$55.4 million).

A source with the ministry said the increase is due to the ministry's decision at the beginning of the year to adopt public bidding "as much as possible" in the transfer of excavation rights. The decision aims to stop transfers through the endowment of rights by administrative authorities.

Besides public bidding, a common practice to transfer rights is contract transferring. But this should be applied only when no competition exists, the ministry stressed.

Most of the mines that have had their excavation rights publicly auctioned have been small ones of non-metallic minerals for construction purposes such as sand and stone.

All people with proper registration papers in China, including those with foreign funds, can participate in public biddings for excavation rights to various mines.

(China Daily August 19, 2002)

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