MAC/20: Mines and Communities

China Update

Published by MAC on 2006-01-19


China update

19th January 2006

China opens a new coal mine every week and is planning to increase the capacity of its largest coal mines to meet 60% of the country's pretended needs. It's one of the reasons why the European Union is worried that its plan to cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, won't be met.

But there's still little sign that the thousands of illegal small coal mines are being closed. Last week a Chinese journalist was murdered for daring to investigate conditions at one such mine.

Not only is the regime planning to increase mineral prospecting across China, it's also announced it will "speed up" mining in "deep ocean areas".

Meanwhile a Hong Kong-based company has announced that it will open a nickel mine in Burma, along with a mainland-registered partner.


Slaying outrages China: Thugs allegedly killed reporter over story

GEOFFREY YORK, Toronto Globe and Mail

19th January 2007

BEIJING -- The killing of a Chinese journalist by thugs in a coal-mining region has cast a deeper shadow over China's corruption-plagued coal industry, where thousands of people die in explosions and other disasters every year.

The journalist, Lan Chengzhang, was beaten to death by more than 20 assailants who were allegedly hired by the owner of an illegal mine that the journalist had been investigating.

The boss of the mine had fled into hiding and police were searching for him, according to Chinese reports yesterday. More than 70 police officers have been assigned to investigate the case. Yesterday, three men were arrested, Agence France-Presse reported.

The Chinese media have been outraged by the killing, which has triggered an unusual wave of criticism and outspoken commentary by newspapers and websites across the country in the past two days, including the state-controlled media.

Corruption and violence are endemic in China's troubled coal-mining industry. Last year a total of 4,746 miners were killed in about 3,000 explosions, floods, fires and other disasters.

The journalist was killed in Shanxi province in northern China, one of the biggest strongholds of the country's coal industry.

The 35-year-old journalist, who worked for China Trade News, died from brain injuries on Jan. 10, a day after the attack. A driver who was working with Mr. Lan was also beaten and injured. But the attack was not publicly reported until this week, when it was revealed by a message on a website forum.

A group of Chinese journalists tried to investigate the incident by visiting the hospital where Mr. Lan died, but police kept them from entering, a report said this week.

One newspaper, Beijing News, said the slaying was part of a campaign by thugs to intimidate anyone who investigates corruption in the coal industry. "Whether or not they are successful will depend on whether journalists have become afraid because of this," the newspaper said.

International media watchdogs, expressing concern over the killing, have called for a full investigation.


INTERVIEW - EU Says Cannot Meet Emissions Goal Without China

PlanetArk BELGIUM

16th January 2007

BRUSSELS - The European Union goal of a 30 percent cut in global greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 cannot be met without China, the European Commission said on Monday before launching talks on a broad new cooperation pact with Beijing.

Speaking before heading to Beijing, EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner also said that China could face a protectionist backlash unless it opened up its markets and cut its massive trade surplus with Europe.

The EU announced plans last Wednesday for big reductions in its own greenhouse gas emissions -- a minimum of a 20 percent cut and a commitment to slash them by 30 percent if other big polluters like China followed suit.

"We could not have our ambitious goals of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020 if we can't also include other important players like China," Ferrero-Waldner told Reuters in an interview.

"Whatever China does could indeed offset all our efforts."

The commissioner will launch the talks on the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with China in Beijing on Wednesday. She said an energy and climate change partnership launched with China in 2005 needed to be broadened by technology sharing and encouraging use of hydro, wind and solar power and biofuels.

"China today still opens up a coal-fired power plant every week, so you can imagine how important it is," she said.

Both Europe and China, as major energy consumers and competitors for global resources, need to cut back on energy demand and increase energy efficiency, she said.

Ferrero-Waldner said she could not say how long it would take to finalise the agreement covering all 22 areas of cooperation with China, which is to replace an outdated 1985 pact that dealt only with trade and economic matters.

"IT WILL TAKE TIME"

"Of course it will take time," she said. "We will have to see how long it will take.

There were a number of difficult issues, not least trade.

"China has a great chance today to work with us Europeans," Ferrero-Waldner said.

"We have a 200 billion euro (US$260 billion) relationship, which is a huge trade relationship, with a great deficit from the European side ... in order to balance this relationship China will have to open up more."

Ferrero-Waldner said the European Union was trying to show it would remain open and not succumb to protectionism, but added that if the trade imbalance increased further, "there could of course be some protectionist tendencies."

The talks will also cover agriculture, transport, customs, education, science, information, security and counter-terrorism.

Analysts say the eventual pact will essentially codify existing EU-China ties and, as well as trade, could hit snags over China's reluctance to discuss human rights and Taiwan.

China has pressed the EU to recognise it as a market economy, a move that would help Beijing fight anti-dumping cases, and to lift an arms embargo put in place after the Tiananmen Square killings in 1989.

EU negotiators hope to lower restrictions for European firms in Chinese sectors like cars and petrochemicals and for more access to the country's vast public procurement market. Some Chinese economists argue Beijing should strengthen barriers against foreign investment, not remove them.

Story by David Brunnstrom

REUTERS NEWS SERVICE


China to increase mineral prospecting - official

Interfax China

29th December 2007

The Chinese government plans to speed up prospecting for new mineral resources in order to increase strategic resources reserves, said a government leader Tuesday in Beijing.

The Chinese government plans to build a series of large and medium mines, speed up mining in deep ocean areas, and increase large coalmines' capacity to 60 percent of country's total coal capacity, said Zeng Peiyan, China's vice premier.

Future prospecting will concentrate on 16 kinds of resources including oil, natural gas, coal, uranium, iron, copper and aluminum, he said.

By 2010, there will be a number of large mining bases in western China as depleted mines in eastern China increase.

Zeng said that the central government will allocate RMB 2 billion ($256.41 million) for the initial prospecting of important and large deposits.

More than 120 prospecting projects are being planned so far, he said.

Moreover, the income from mining rights transfers and other mining incomes for central and local governments will be mainly used for prospecting.

The government also encourages state-owned geology prospecting authorities to establish mining joint ventures, he said.

Besides encouraging prospecting, the government will also support the comprehensive exploitation of existing large multi-mineral mines, including the Baiyun'ebo rare earth and iron mine in Inner Mongolia, the Jinchuan copper and nickel mine in Gansu, Panzhihua vanadium, titanium, and magnetite mine in Suchuan, and the Shizhuyuan multi-mineral mine in Hunan.

China's crude consumption reached 330 million tons in 2005, while its output was only 180 million tons. Its iron ore concentrate consumption was 530 million tons, but the domestic supply was only 260 million tons.

The copper concentrate prices increased by 120 percent and iron ore concentrate prices by 260 percent in the past four years. Important mineral resources shortages have become a serious problem hindering China's economic development.


Zijin Mining to develop nickel mine in Burma

Intrfax China

19th January 2007

Zijin Mining Corp. announced this week it will jointly develop a large nickel mine in Burma with a Chinese mining company.A company official with the securities department of Zijin Mining, which is listed in Hong Kong, said the mine is now being prospected by the two companies and a joint venture will be formed in Burma after it receives government approval from both sides.

She declined to identify the partner, saying it must remain confidential before the joint venture is officially established. The laterite nickel deposit is estimated to be 1 millions of ore at a 1.3 percent grade, the official said.

Construction of the mine is expected to begin in September and start operations in the second half of 2009.

 

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