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Investment grows in search for mineral resources

China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-04 10:00
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Oil derricks operate at Daqing Oilfield Co. [Photo by Zheng Yong/For China Daily]

China has stepped up investment in mineral resources exploration to bolster reserves and production, according to a bulletin released recently by the Ministry of Natural Resources.

National investment in such exploration rose 8 percent last year to 110.5 billion yuan ($15.4 billion). Over 80 percent was directed toward oil and gas exploration, which was up 9.8 percent year-on-year.

Through the establishment of a conducive market environment and the effective utilization of fiscal investment, more social capital was drawn into prospecting last year, with social investment accounting for 87.6 percent of total investment.

The bulletin said that China promoted strategic prospecting efforts. Newly confirmed reserves of petroleum exceeded 1.2 billion metric tons for a fourth consecutive year last year, while newly discovered reserves of natural gas, shale gas and coal-bed methane have totaled more than 1.2 trillion cubic meters for five consecutive years.

The ministry said that substantial headway has been made in the exploration and exploitation of deep coal-bed methane. In October, China's first deep coal-bed methane field with proven reserves exceeding 110 billion cubic meters was discovered at the eastern edge of the Ordos Basin in Shaanxi province.

China discovered 124 non-oil and gas mineral fields last year, with 96 large or medium-sized, a year-on-year increase of 12.9 percent.

Notable progress was achieved in mineral exploration, such as the identification of high-grade iron ore deposits in Shandong province, the discovery of high-yield brine potassium deposits in the Qaidam Basin of Qinghai province, and the discovery of rare earth mineral deposits in Hubei.

In an article in Economic Daily in November, Natural Resources Minister Wang Guanghua emphasized the significance of China's commitment to maintaining self-sufficiency in critical strategic mineral resources in light of significant shifts in domestic and international conditions. He said that would involve strengthening the development of the national strategic material reserve system.

"Our aim is to possess these resources and maintain a composed mindset," Wang said.

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