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Wider access for foreign miners promised
Updated: 2005-11-15 23:57

China will step up the opening of its minerals sector to foreign investment while trying to make its legal framework more transparent, officials said on Tuesday.

"China will continue its policy of opening up to the outside world in the mineral resources sector," Sun Wencheng, Minister of Land and Resources, told a conference in Beijing.

"We shall promote the process of reform by opening up and improving the overall efficiency and capacity of mineral development, further create a stable, open and transparent legal and regulatory environment and protect the legal rights of foreign investors in mineral exploration and development activities in China."

Sun said China would encourage greater cooperation between domestic firms and their global counterparts in mineral exploration and development.

"The mining sector faces numerous challenges... such as overcoming low efficiency, battling environmental degradation and a limited number of internationally competitive producers," Australia's ambassador to China, Alan Thomas, said.

China intends to create a level playing field and to focus on foreign companies coming in, as well as domestic companies investing overseas, said Ye Zhanghe, deputy director general of the department of foreign investment administration at the Ministry of Commerce.

Mining industry adopts development strategy

A "two-way development strategy" to be adopted by the Chinese mining industry will pay equal attention to both the exploitation and efficient use of mineral resources, from the modernization of mines to bolstered efforts to find new mineral reserves, land and resources officials said yesterday.

A healthy mining industry will play an important role in the country's sustainable economic development, Vice-Minister of Land and Resources Wang Min said yesterday at the opening ceremony of China Mining 2005, an international symposium that was held in Beijing.

"A feasible energy strategy will be launched to strengthen the country's mineral reserve survey and investigations into scarce resources," Wang said.

Existing mines will be modernized, and the establishment of competitive mining groups and development of small mines will be supported, he said.

Supervision measures will also be upgraded to guarantee efficient and environmentally friendly exploration.

Meanwhile, China will double its efforts to boost international trade in mineral products, encourage competitive domestic enterprises to join overseas exploitation and weave a solid and secure energy supply chain.

"China's mining industry has played an increasing role in the world mining sector," said Karin Finkelston, deputy director of the East Asia and Pacific Department under the World Bank.

"The World Bank hopes to increase its investment in the mining industry in China to encourage environmental and social responsible manners in the sector," Finkelston said.

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