A feasibility study on the ways to efficiently harness Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region's rich oil and coal resources has been completed, paving the way for the government to develop the region into one of the country's key strategic energy bases.
Han Wenke, director of the energy research institute under the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the nation's top planner, said yesterday that a comprehensive plan with a supervision structure was needed to prevent "unscientific exploration", and subsequent environmental damage from occurring.
The research was jointly launched by the NDRC, the Ministry of Finance, the Development Research Center of the State Council, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and other related departments.
The Asian Development Bank has funded the research since the beginning of last year.
Details of the project are expected to be released next month.
Inner Mongolia has some 89 percent of the world's 150 different types of mineral resources.
Oil reserves are estimated to be as much as 4 billion tons.
Duan Lianao, head of the research program under the Asian Development Bank, was quoted yesterday by the China Economic Times as saying that Inner Mongolia is rich in energy resources and its geographic location makes it suitable to become a major pillar for the industrial development of northern China.
The region covers an area of almost 1.2 million sq km and accounts for roughly 12 percent of the country's land area.
In the first three quarters of last year, the autonomous region exported almost one-third of its electricity to northern regions in China, mainly Beijing.
However, the exploration and harnessing of the region's energy reserves has not been very efficient or suitable for long-term development, Han said.
The development of clean energy sources such as wind and solar power in Inner Mongolia now rank "first and second in the world, respectively", he said.