China to ramp up mineral exploration

Updated: 2012-02-09 18:43

By Wang Qian (

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China plans to increase mineral exploration and development within ten years in order to keep up with the country's rapidly growing demand, Xu Shaoshi, minister of land and resources, said on Thursday.

Speaking at a national videoconference in Beijing, Xu said the country faces a major challenge in meeting the soaring demand for minerals and energy, with peak demand for energy expected to come between 2025 to 2035.

China's dependency on foreign sources for energy and many minerals threatens the country's security, Xu said.

Exploration and development of gas hydrates, also called flammable ice, and natural gas produced from shale will be crucial in the coming decade, he added.

About 11 key minerals present a high risk of severe shortage, Du Ying, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, told the conference.

China has discovered 172 varieties of minerals, 159 of them with proven reserves; of these, 45 are considered key minerals.