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China emerges top gold producer

Last updated on: November 06, 2007 09:11 IST
In 2006, Chinese mines produced 240 tonnes of gold, about 10 per cent of global production, and up from 224 tonnes in 2005. Output was just 11 tonnes behind Australia, the world's third largest gold producer. So far this year, gold output is up 13.10 per cent from last year, and reports indicate steady growth over then next five years.

According to recent report by Research and Markets, 'China Gold Industry Report, 2007,' China's gold output could reach 300 tonnes by 2010. The government has set a five-year goal of 1300 tonnes with an annual growth rate at about 5 per cent.

In the first 9 months of 2007, China produced a total of 191.46 tonnes of gold, up from about 169.25 tonnes in the same period last year, according to statistics from the National Development and Reform Commission. This follows a 7 per cent growth rate in 2006 from 2005.

Gold mining enterprises produced a total of 153.34 tonnes of gold from January to September, up 9 per cent from 2006, while nonferrous companies produced 38.12 tonnes of gold, up 30 per cent from the same period last year.

The top 10 gold mining provinces in China produced 78 per cent of the sector's total gold output in the first three quarters of this year. The provinces accounted for about 78.53 per cent of national output in 2006.

The key gold producing provinces are Shandong at 25.03 per cent, Henan at 13.74 per cent, Fujian at 7.99 per cent, Liaoning at 5.70 per cent, Hunan at 5.46 per cent, Shaanxi at 5.24 per cent, Hebei at 4.82 per cent, Xinjiang at 3.56 per cent, Gansu at 3.51 per cent, and Guizhou at 3.48 per cent.

China's entire gold industry reached an industrial output value of about $6.71 billion in the first nine months of the year based on current gold prices, representing an increase of 35.9 per cent year-on-year, with profits from sales up 41.9 per cent to $741.71 million over the period.

In 2006, the gold enterprises realized total industrial value of about $7 billion, rising 34.11 per cent from 2005, while total profit of $8.2 billion, up 51.34 per cent over
the previous year.

Total smelting enterprises produced 111.867 tonnes of gold in 2006, increasing 16.94 per cent from last year. The top 20 gold enterprises except refineries had the gross output of 194,011 tonnes in 2006, accounting for over 80 per cent of the nation's total.

China's newly-increased gold ore reserve has exceeded 650 tonnes, and the government hopes to increase this number to 3000-3500 tonnes in the next five years.

In recent years, numerous foreign exploration companies have entered into China and achieved great success. In 1996, China opened the door for foreign investment with new the new mineral resources law on mineral exploration and development.

The law stated that "the State shall safeguard the national development and utilisation of mineral resources under the responsibility and supervision of the Ministry of Land and Resources."

MLR promised to reform the approval process and the costs associated with securing exploration rights in China, in order to encourage foreign investment in an industry. Additional laws and notices issued in 1998 and 2000 clarified the exploration process and the transfer and assignment of exploration rights.

Finally, in December 2003, the government issued a white paper on China's Policy on Mineral Resources which stressed that China would depend on exploitation of its resources to guarantee the needs of its thriving economy, highlighting the importance of foreign cooperation.

There are many more foreign companies operating in China. Below is a detailed chart of those listed in Canada, Australia and the US.

By Arrangement with
Jon A Nones/Commodity Online