In an exclusive interview with China’s official state news agency, Xinhua, China’s Minister of Land and Resources Xu Shaoshi said his country will face a serious shortage of mineral resources by 2020 and is already running short of 11 minerals critical to the nation's economy.
The prediction was based on surveys of recoverable reserves of 45 types of major minerals.
Xu said China will have to substantially increase imports of minerals in short supply to meet demand over the next 10 to 20 years.
“The county’s consumption [of mineral resources] has grown faster than its production, while the expansion of production has outpaced the exploration,” Xu said. “That partly explains why there has been a shortage.”
During the past 15 years, China has experienced double-digit growth in the consumption of mineral resources. Xu said more than half the country’s iron ore, refined copper, refined aluminum and leopoldite were imported. The country is expected to undergo a serious shortage of mineral resources by 2020 as it consumes more to promote industrialization, urbanization and agricultural modernization.
Last year China’s State Council or Cabinet approved a 10-year exploration plan, which highlighted the need to secure its resource supply mainly by domestic production, Xu noted.