More funds for unlocking mineral wealth
By Tong Hao and Wan Zhihong (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-11-13 11:19

China will invest over 3 billion yuan ($439 million) on geological surveys for mining resources next year, according to the Ministry of Land and Resources.

Last year, the government spent over 2 billion yuan for geological surveys with nearly 40 percent of the funds spent in western China, said the Ministry.

"The government is investing more in mineral exploration to help Chinese mining industry tide over the present crisis," Zhong Ziran, deputy director of China Geological Survey affiliated with the Ministry of Land and Resources said at the China Mining Congress & Expo 2008.

Western China will become a focus for the survey work. "Regions in the west with a size of 1.4 million sq km are waiting for more detailed surveys," said Xiong Shengqing, deputy director of China Aero Geophysical Survey & Remote Sensing Center for Land and Resource.

The increasing attention for geological surveys is in line with the country's increasing demand for mining resources.

China's mining companies are likely to be the big winners from the country's 4-trillion-yuan stimulus package announced on Sunday, said Mike Elliott, global mining & metals sector leader with Ernst & Young.

The plan to boost domestic economy will also see increased demand in the mining market, thus helping offset the fall in prices, he said.

Boosted by the strong demand from the downstreem industries, the recent slowdown of China's mining industry will not last long, said Howard Balloch, member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on the Future of Metals and Mining.

Demand from the country's automobile industry and urbanization development will continue to see an increase, he said.

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