China Minmetals Corp, the nation's largest metal trader, on Friday signed a cooperation agreement with central and local government geological agencies for the joint exploration of minerals in East China's Anhui Province.
Minmetals will join with Anhui Geology and Mineral Resources Exploration Bureau in exploring minerals in Lujiang, Chaohu, and Zongyang in the city of Anqing, according to the agreement signed in Beijing between the two parties along with China Geological Survey under the Ministry of Land and Resources and Anhui department of land and resources.
Minmetals is expected to invest some 60 million yuan in three major targeted areas in the Lujiang-Zongyang region located in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River.
The exploration is now proceeding well and a large iron ore deposit has been found in the region, the company revealed but declined to elaborate. The parties believe the region has great potential in terms of mineral deposits.
The move is part of the nationwide efforts to explore minerals 500 meters below the Earth's surface.
The cooperation also helps to guarantee China's resource security, according to Song Yufang, vice-president of Minmetals.
"If this joint exploration goes well, such cooperation (between enterprise and government) will be adopted in more mineral exploration projects across China," said Zhong Ziran, a senior official with the China Geological Survey.
The Chinese metal giant has worked hard to diversify its business in recent years.
Earlier this year it joined forces with the world's sixth-largest copper supplier, Poland's KGHM Polska Miedz SA, to develop non-ferrous metal resources at home and abroad.
The company is also cooperating with Chile's Corporacion Nacional del Cobre to ensure a long-term supply of refined copper.
It signed an agreement with Anhui provincial government in 2006 to strengthen their cooperation in domestic and overseas resource exploration.
Source: Xinhua/China Daily