China uncovers iron ore reserves of 5 billion tons

11:20, January 19, 2010      

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The Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) said nearly 5 billion tons of iron ore were found in China last year, and experts said the findings would put the country in a favorable position in international iron ore contract negotiations.

The country invested a combined 27.7 billion yuan ($4 billion) in exploring for iron, copper, aluminum and coal nationwide last year, and found 621 orefields in all, including copper and gold ore, the ministry said in a statement on its website over the weekend.

Most of the iron ore findings are in Liaoning, Sichuan, Hebei and Shandong provinces, the statement said.
In Liaoning Province, an iron deposit with reserves of more than 3 billion tons was discovered. It is expected to be the world's biggest iron resource, the local government said in June.

China also found 150 billion tons of coal, 255 tons of gold deposits and 20 million tons of copper resources last year, the ministry's statement said.

Zhang Hongtao, chief engineer of the MLR, was quoted by the China Business News as saying that to some extent, the iron ore findings will put the country in a better position in the new round of international iron ore contract negotiations.

China is the world's biggest iron ore buyer, and has been in a disadvantageous position in international negotiations as iron ore prices have soared. The price of 63.5 percent iron-content ore delivered to the country's port from India last week climbed to $134-$136 per ton, the highest price since last year.

The General Administration of Customs publicized data showing that the country imported 62.16 million tons of iron ore in December, up 80 percent over the same period in the previous year. And total imports in 2009 amounted to 628 million tons, an increase of 41.6 percent year-on-year.

But some analysts said the Chinese iron ore is of a relatively lower grade compared to that of some other countries.

The country's iron ore has a 10-30 percent iron content level, while ore imported from other countries including Australia has higher content, some even exceeding 60 percent, Sun Ming, an analyst with the data research center of Lange Steel, said Monday.

Source: Global Times

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