TIANJIN - China's mining industry has witnessed significant growth in investment and mineral production, yet uncertainties still loom ahead, officials and experts attending the 12th China Mining Conference & Expo said in Tianjin on Tuesday.
Beginning in the second quarter of 2009, China's mineral market resumed its past strength, following the global financial crisis, as the Chinese government put in place a stimulus package plan of 4,000 billion yuan, or $600 billion, said Wang Min, Vice Minister of Land and Resources.
In the first eight months of the year, China's mining industry took advantage of an investment of 530 billion yuan ($80 billion), up 20 percent year-on-year, said Wang.
Further, this tremendous investment in the mining industry triggered increases in production across a range of mineral products.
During the first three quarters of 2010, coal production rose 17.2 percent year-on-year to reach 2.4 billion tons, while iron ore production jumped 26 percent from the same period of last year to 780 million tons.
Other bulk mineral commodities, such as copper concentrate, refined aluminum and zinc concentrate, all registered double-digit growth, according to the vice minister.
Also, imported and exported mineral products rose 49 percent year-on-year to $524 billion in the first nine months of the year, out-pacing last year's total of $499 billion.
"The renewed strength of China's mineral market has exerted positive influences on the development of the global mining industry," said the vice minister.
Also, Vincent Koen, senior economist with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), said China's mining sector is facing uncertainties, though the economy remains strong.
"The energy intensity of growth has declined in recent years, but to reach the target of a 20 percent reduction over 2006-2010, the Chinese government took new measures recently which may dampen energy demands a bit," Koen said in a keynote speech.
"The next five-year plan (2011-2015) will contain measures that will influence the demand addressed to the mining sector," he observed.
Further, overseas investment by China's state-owned and private mining enterprises in the field of oil, iron, copper and gold is also at stake.
"Being at the early stage of exploration or development, most of these projects were at a relatively higher investment risk," noted Wang.