- Written by John Miller
With countries around the world having complementary resources, and industries needing these resources, only cooperation can lead to mutual benefits for the world’s mining industry.
This was one of the strong messages to come through at the annual China Mining Congress and Expo in Tianjin last week.
In addressing the conference, China’s vice minister of land and resources Wang Min called for deeper cooperation between China and other nations to help the mining industry recover from the global financial crisis.
While increasing its overseas efforts to gain resources, China is also regaining momentum in its domestic mining industry. Investment in China’s mining industry in the first eight months of 2010 totalled 530 billion yuan, up 20% year-on-year.
Exploration has also been successful with 19 billion tonnes of coal reserves, 1.7 billion tonnes of iron and 70 tonnes of gold newly verified in the first three quarters of 2010. Coal output increased 15.5% year-on-year to 2.2 billion tonnes while production of coke, nonferrous metals and phosphorus increased more than 20%.
In the first eight months of 2010 its mineral imports and exports were valued at $456.3 billion, which is about 25% of its foreign trade and close to the 2009 annual figure of $498.7 billion.
Wang Min told delegates that international markets are also improving. “The international mining industry has already gone through the hardest days and investment has climbed to a level close to that before the global financial crisis.”
He said that after stimulus packages in many countries, global demand for coal, iron, copper, aluminium and nickel will see single-digit growth or perhaps more.
He said a lasting effect of the downturn was the number of mergers and acquisitions taking place. In the first quarter of 2010 there were 231 mining M&As worldwide valued at $11.6 billion, a 25% increase over the same period in 2009, and they have gathered pace during the following months.
Wang Min said that in the first nine months of 2010 Chinese mining companies invested 21.2 billion yuan in overseas exploration but most of the projects are in initial stages and have the associated risks. As well as Australia and Canada, he said China’s mining companies are paying more attention to Africa, central Asia and South America.
He stated that the future of the global mining industry would be impacted by climate change and other environmental problems, and reiterated that the mining industry should help developing countries rid themselves of poverty.