Mineral sector welcomes investors
( 2003-10-28 09:35) (China Daily)
Top official of the Ministry of Land and Resources Sun Wensheng yesterday warmly welcomed more foreign companies to invest in mineral resources exploration and exploitation in China.
He made the remarks at the opening ceremony of China Mining 2003, the country's only platform for dialogue between the Chinese government and the world's mining companies.
"There is great market potential in China and there are great opportunities to invest in mining here," he said.
Sun also promised greater efforts to improve the country's mining investment situation. He said, "We will further improve laws and regulations, increase the momentum of the rectification of market order, protect investors' legal rights and interests, promote lawful administration, further improve management, increase transparency and efficiency, and raise the quality of service."
Over 300 government officials, experts and investors from 14 countries and regions around the world have converged in this city, the capital of Southwest China's Yunnan Province, for the two-day event. The mining authorities of Laos, Indonesia and Myanmar have, for the first time, sent delegations to the forum.
Although most forum participants acknowledge the changes and improvements China has made in its mining investment environment, they nonetheless agree with Peter van der Veen, manager of the Mining Department of the World Bank Group (WBG), who says that the country still has much to do in this regard.
"To be specific," the WBG official said, "the legal framework has improved considerably but does not yet meet the needs of private investors; mining sector policies have improved positively but implementation is lagging behind."
As a first solid step to improve the situation and to fulfill Sun's promise of all-encompassing reforms, Wei Tiejun from the ministry's Legal Affairs Centre, disclosed that the country is amending its 16-year-old Mineral Resources Law, to bring it in line with changing market policies and the opening up of the mining sector.
Wei said the amending group is striving to integrate related international practices into the new version, and removing the country's present legal and policy barriers in the sector. For example, overlapping administrative procedures, lack of access to public geological data, an incomplete mineral taxation and profit allocation system, and lack of an effective monitoring and disciplinary mechanism.
To ensure the new version of the law will effectively integrate China into the world mining scene, Wei welcomes constructive suggestions from the international mining community.
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