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China Vows to Boost Prospecting, Reserves of Strategic Minerals

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(Bloomberg) — China is vowing to boost domestic prospecting and build strategic reserves to secure supplies of energy and key strategic mineral resources.

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“China will launch a new round of domestic prospecting operations, focusing on strategic bulk minerals that are in short supply,” Wang Guanghua, Minister of Natural Resources, was cited as saying in an interview with the official Xinhua News Agency.

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The world’s biggest metals consumer will also implement projects to strengthen strategic reserves and ensure long-term supply security, said Wang, without elaborating on the projects. It will also further optimize incentives to encourage private capital to participate in exploration and prospecting, he added.

Global commodity prices including iron ore, oil and copper spiked last year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That’s posing increased risks to supply security in the Asian nation. 

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The country has been pledging to step up domestic mining in recent years to cut reliance on imports. Earlier in the pandemic, it considered increasing its mammoth state reserves of crude oil, strategic metals and farm goods to withstand supply disruptions that could cripple its economy.

The country has already built state inventories of major energy and minerals including oil, copper, aluminum and zinc, and is expanding into those critical to the electric-vehicle boom, such as cobalt. 

The minister also emphasized the need to facilitate legislation of farmland protection this year, as the country has set the goal of keeping its farmland acreage at about 124 million hectares during 2021 to 2035, according to the report. 

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