MAC/20: Mines and Communities

China update

Published by MAC on 2007-02-07


China update

7th Feburary 2007

As reported in last week's China update, the country's minerals' manoevres in Africa are being viewed by many with alarm, but by some (especially in government) with strong approval. Perhaps nowhere is this better illustrated than in Zambia.

The major Chinese state-owned company, Minmetals, failed in 2005 ago to buy out Noranda, Canada's oldest mining company (which was later merged with Falconbridge, then snapped up by Xstrata last year).

This hasn't deterred it from seeking several joint venture partners: in South Africa, in Brazil with CVRD, in Chile with Codelco, and with others in Mauritania and Vietnam.

Of perhaps most immediate concern is Minmetals' joint venture with Century Aluminium of Australia - now exploring for bauxite in Jamaica, where it is also considering setting up an alumina refinery. And what are the implications of an agreement it reached with the Bolivian government last year, to promote nonferrous metals resource exploitation?

Just what is China's strategy with regard to reducing its increasing toll of global greenhouse gas emissions, and in particular that from coal? It's contradictory, to say the least - as illustrated by a number of recent statements, claims and analyses.


Heavy Chinese investment in Zambia revives old colonial fears

By Chris McGreal, THE GUARDIAN, LUSAKA

7th February 2007

When the foundation stone was laid for the Mulungushi textile factory three decades ago, the project was hailed as another demonstration of communist China doing for Zambia what the capitalist West would not.

Beijing put up the money to build Zambia China Mulungushi Textiles and provided the expertise to run it. It grew to become the biggest textile mill in the country, manufacturing 17 million meters of fabric a year and 100,000 pieces of clothing, and winning international awards for the quality of its cloth. The mill employed more than 1,000 people, propped up the economy of Kabwe in northern Zambia and kept thousands of cotton growers in business.

But last month the factory shut down production, strangled by a new wave of Chinese interest across Africa that some critics say amounts to little more than another round of foreign plunder, as Beijing extracts minerals and other natural resources at knock-down prices while battering the continent's economies with a flood of subsidized goods and surplus labor.

Hostility is such in some quarters that Chinese President Hu Jintao (ŒÓ‹ÑŸ•), on an eight-country tour of Africa to promote Beijing's blossoming trade relationship with the continent, axed plans to launch a US$200 million smelter at a Chinese-owned Zambian copper mine last weekend because of miners' anger at working conditions.

He also faced protests from the sacked Mulungushi factory workers.

Hu rejected accusations that China was exploiting Zambian labor and resources.

"China is happy to have Zambia as a good friend, good partner and a good brother," he said, adding that the relationship between the two countries "represents a new type of strategic partnership" in Africa.

The growing Asian presence in Zambia even became an issue in last year's presidential election, with the opposition threatening to throw out of the country large numbers of Chinese traders and laborers who have become an increasing source of agitation for taking business and jobs.

One of the problems, say the opposition, is that no one can say just how many Chinese there are in Zambia. The government told parliament there are 2,300 but economists say the real figure runs into the tens of thousands.

"It's hard to know how they all got here," said Guy Scott, a former agriculture minister and now the Patriotic Front leader in parliament. "If you go to the market you find Chinese selling cabbages and beansprouts. What is the point in letting them in to do that? There's a lot of Chinese here doing construction. Zambians can do that. The Chinese building firms are undercutting the local firms."

"Our textile factories can't compete with cheap Chinese imports subsidized by a foreign government. People are saying: `We've had bad people before. The whites were bad, the Indians were worse but the Chinese are worst of all,'" Scott said.

The government has accused the Patriotic Front (PF) of racism and, in the run up to the election, Beijing warned that if the opposition won it would pull out of construction projects. The PF lost but it came out ahead in the cities, where the anti-Chinese message played well.

Dipak Patel, Zambia's trade and industry minister until last September, said the government was mistaken to ignore growing resentment.

"We have a lot of Chinese traders selling in the market and displacing local people and causing a lot of friction," he said. "You have Chinese laborers here moving wheelbarrows. That's not the kind of investment we need. I understand they have 1.2 billion people but they don't have to send them to Africa. This needs to be dealt with because you'll end up with a situation with what happened in Uganda with the Indians."

"The government needs to be very clear about what kind of investment it wants. If it's just shipping out resources and shipping in cheap goods and people that's not to our benefit. We in Zambia need to be very careful of this new scramble for Africa. What's happening is that the Chinese are very aggressive. They have a strategic plan," Patel said.

Late last year South African President Thabo Mbeki told students that Africa needs to be on its guard against allowing a "colonial relationship" to develop with Beijing, although he quickly added that he did not think that was China's motive.

In any case, it is a long way from the plunder of the European colonizers or the destruction wrought by the use of parts of Africa as a cold war battlefield by the superpowers.

The relationship between Beijing and Lusaka was solidified in the 1970s as Mao Zedong (–ÑàV“Œ) built Zambia a 1,770km railway for its mining exports after the route through white-ruled Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa was cut by sanctions. The West had refused to help, saying such a project was not viable.

The new wave of Chinese interest was again greeted with enthusiasm as an alternative to Western governments that preach free trade and investment but provide little of either. China is also giving African countries billions of dollars in aid without the political and economic strings attached by the West, and building roads, hospitals and stadiums across the continent.

Workers at Zambia's struggling copper mines cheered when Chinese companies bought them up, but the relationship soured as miners grew resentful over what they said were harsher and less safe working conditions for lower pay than in the many other foreign-owned mines.

Two years ago 49 miners were blown up in an explosives factory at the Chinese-owned Chambishi mine in an accident blamed on lax safety. Last year the police shot five miners at Chambishi in a riot over working conditions.

The government temporarily closed another mine after men were forced to work underground without safety gear and boots. The new owners have also brought in workers to do jobs that Zambians say could go to them.

The most friction comes in markets such as Lusaka's sprawling Kamwala where Chinese traders have bought up shops. As tensions have risen, Chinese names above the door have been painted over or replaced. One of the few Asian shop names still on display in Kamwala is Heung Il Investment but its owner is a South Korean who sells Zambian-made clothes and is losing out to Chinese imports sold next door at half the price.

"There's no doubt that ours are better quality," said George Nerenda, one of the sales staff. "With these Chinese clothes, when you buy today and wash tomorrow you have to throw them away. But people go for price. I have no problem about the Chinese buying the mines. It's OK. No complaining. But the material business, it's bad."

While consumers benefit from cheaper prices, critics say the economy and the country lose out because factories close and jobs are lost.

Unhappiness with the Chinese has resonated deeply enough that Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa has appealed to Zambians to be more positive about investment from Beijing such as a new hotel being built overlooking Victoria Falls.

"The Chinese government has brought a lot of development to this country and these are the people you are demonstrating against?" he said.

Many of the Chinese working in Zambia are sanguine about the criticism. Lui Ping, general manager in Lusaka for China's largest construction company in Zambia, the state-owned China National Overseas Engineering Corp, which has been building schools and hospitals, says resentment over Chinese workers is misplaced. He says he employs 15 Zambians for every Chinese but admits he prefers the imported labor.

"Chinese people can stand very hard work. This is a cultural difference. Chinese people work until they finish and then rest. Here they are like the British, they work according to a plan. They have tea breaks and a lot of days off. For our construction company that means it costs a lot more," Lui said.

"Some politicians for political reasons say they want to chase some Chinese out of the country. But it's only political. They won't do it," he said.


Chinese president to inaugurate copper mining investment program in Zambia

By Joseph J. Schatz, ASSOCIATED PRESS

4th February 2007

LUSAKA, Zambia – Chinese President Hu Jintao launched a copper mining partnership with Zambia on Sunday and won praise from Zambia's finance minister for his focus on economic investment rather than politics.

Hu planned to travel Monday to Namibia – his fifth stop on an eight-nation African tour intended to increase Chinese investment in the continent, which is rich in natural resources although it suffers from widespread poverty.

Zambian Finance Minister Ng'andu Magande told the Associated Press Hu's visit was "one of the most successful visits by a foreign head of state."

Other donors, he said, have political agendas. "People come here and talk about U.N. reform and conflict zones," he said. "China has decided they will take a different route, they will take an economic route."

China has gained a reputation for striking deals with African nations without demanding political reforms – such as respect for human rights – sought by Western donors.

But Chinese investments have led to accusations of exploitation in Zambia, a nation of 11.5 million in southern Africa. They

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa was all smiles Sunday as he and Hu launched an economic partnership zone centered around the Chambishi copper mine in Zambia's Copperbelt Province. The partnership is designed to draw $800 million in mining investment from scores of Chinese companies and create 60,000 jobs.

China already has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Zambia's copper sector, which accounts for 60 percent of the country's exports.

Addressing a crowd that included Chinese managers and Zambian miners in orange suits and red helmets, Hu and Mwanawasa said the new economic zone would be the first of several around the continent.

The walls and stage at a local conference center where the event was held were festooned in red, featuring a huge sign reading "Hail to Sino-Africa New-Type Strategic Partnership," red banners in Chinese lettering, and a huge map of the proposed economic zone. Zambian and Chinese dance troupes performed outside.

A member of the Chinese delegation cued the audience when to applaud.

Mwanawasa said the zone would "change the face of the Copperbelt and, indeed, the Zambian economy in that our raw materials will now have chance to enjoy value addition of unimagined proportions."

Mwanawasa sounded one cautious note, however, asking Chinese investors to partner with local Zambian firms and to give priority to local suppliers for goods and services.

Since the late 1990s, Chinese investments in the southern African nation have soared and now total $500 million – the third largest after those of South Africa and Britain.


Minmetals' mineral reserves on the rise

China Minmetals Corporation's mineral reserves have seen rapid growth in 2006, the company announced Tuesday.

At the end of 2006, the company had 2.51 million tons of alumina reserves, 600 million tons of iron ore reserves, 385,000 tons of tungsten reserves, and 280 million tons of coke reserves.

Minmetals' sales revenue was $18.9 billion in 2006, which was the third consecutive year that the company to reaped a sales revenue over $1.5 billion.

For the first time, Minmetals, one of China's largest minerals and metals traders, had domestic business revenue that outweighed its foreign business revenue in 2006.

The company is still planning to maintain its large reserves. Last February, the company signed a deal with the world's largest copper mine, Corporacion Nacional del Cobre de Chile (Codelco), to obtain 836,250 tons of copper from Codelco over the next 15 years. In July 2006, Minmetals acquired an iron ore mine in Anhui with a reserve of 105 million tons for RMB 190 billion ($24.52 billion).

Minmetals also signed a long-term agreement with international iron ore suppliers, including the Brazilian CVRD and South African PMC.

Minmetals' various mining projects at home and abroad saw the company enter into a joint venture agreement with NASDAQ-listed aluminum producer Century Aluminum in May 2006. The joint venture will explore a bauxite mine and set up an alumina refinery in Jamaica. Minmetals also signed a memorandum of understanding with Bolivia in March 2006 for nonferrous metals resource development, which include copper, stibium, and tin.

Minmetals' prospecting projects include the silver-lead-zinc mine in Guansu, a tungsten-molybdenum mine in Guangxi, and other mines in Mauritania, Vietnam, and Australia.

By the end of 2006, Minmetals boasted 20 mining, smelting and processing units, with a production value of RMB 20 billion ($2.58 billion) and cooperated with provinces and cities, including Qinghai, Hunan, Liaoning, Tianjin, Anhui.

Minmetals' acquisition of Hunan-based Ershisanyejian Construction Group Co. last August has opened the company to a new area of mining construction projects.

Hunan Nonferrous' Australian mine project gets NDRC nod

[source: Interfax China Metals, February 9 2007]


ANALYSIS - China May Swing to Net Coal Imports by Year End

PlanetArk CHINA

7th February 2007

HONG KONG - China, the world's top coal producer and consumer, may swing sooner than expected into a net importer of the fuel by the end of 2007, a move that will boost prices and step up competition among Asian energy importers.

Chinese coal output is not growing fast enough to power an economy expanding at an annual rate of more than 10 percent, especially as oil prices are high and Beijing is closing small mines for safety and environmental reasons, analysts say.

"China will be a net importer of coal this year," said Paul Markowski at Global Research Partners.

That view was echoed by international coal traders and producers although some in China were more cautious.

"In the long run, we do believe China will be a net importer, but not this year," said an official at one of the country's top coal producers. "The economy is still very strong. We need enough coal to fuel the economy."

China is also rushing ahead with an ambitious programme of port expansions, to be able to take in larger vessels from overseas coal producers.

This suggests China will be able to absorb some of the huge growth in low quality Indonesian coal output projected for 2007, bullish news for the global coal market and for rival producers in countries such as Australia and South Africa.

South African producers have already benefitted from the drying-up of Chinese exports over the past few months. Indian buyers who rely on Chinese or South African coal told Reuters recently there is no Chinese coal available this year.

Chinese demand is growing as its power capacity expands and generators burn more coal. The trend is likely to continue despite growing domestic worries over the environment as coal remains readily available with a third of world reserves in the Asia-Pacific region.

"Coal is cheaper than oil on a btu (British thermal units) basis...Many companies have dual power generation equipment. With oil prices above US$40 per barrel, they are switching from diesel to coal," Markowski said.

Official data showed Chinese raw coal output climbed 11.9 percent to 2.07 billion tonnes last year -- but Chinese total coal-fired power generating capacity jumped 23.7 percent to 484.05 gigawatts.

Markowski told Reuters Chinese monthly net coal imports might reach as much as 2 million tonnes by the end of this year, partly due to the deficiences of the railway systems in moving coal from the producing north to the consuming south.

Indonesia should be able to supply more coal to China in the near future, partly offsetting smaller anthracite exports from Vietnam following the introduction of export taxes there.

Indonesia plans to boost thermal coal production by about 10 percent in 2007 to 196 million tonnes.

Asia's demand for coal is rising as high oil and gas prices spur more coal-fired plants.

"China will have to buy from everywhere else, competing with India or Japan. I think it is going to be a big problem," a further analyst said.

"Now they will not just stop exporting to Japan and Korea, but they will be competing with Japan and Korea," he said.

Story by Nao Nakanishi

REUTERS NEWS SERVICE


China Set to Launch Kyoto Clean Energy Fund

PlanetArk CHINA

9th February 2007

BEIJING - Beijing will launch within weeks a renewable energy fund likely to deploy tens of millions of dollars it has taxed from carbon trading under the Kyoto Protocol.

Kyoto sets rich countries emissions reductions targets through to 2012 but allows them to meet these by funding emissions cuts in poor countries. Buying carbon credits is considered cheaper than making domestic cuts.

China has dominated as a selling country, so far attracting approved investments to cut emissions through 2012 by some 300 million tonnes -- UN data shows -- worth over 3 billion euros (US$3.90 billion).

It has become a honeypot for investors because some of its carbon credits are achieved at especially low-cost, for example destroying especially potent greenhouse gases which qualify for huge multiples of carbon credits for every tonne of emissions saved.

China has taxed these western investments at up to 65 percent as a way of diverting some cash away from industrial plants into smaller projects, and the long touted carbon-fund could have tens of millions of dollars already.

"It has been approved by the state council and we are coordinating with other authorities to formalise it," said Ju Kuilin, Deputy Director General at the Ministry of Finance's International Cooperation Department.

"By the end of this month or early March we will put it into operation.

"Our guideline for management is based on independence in climate change projects," he added.

He declined to say how much of a pot had built up since the tariffs were brought in last year, and said Beijing was also hoping for contributions from other governnments and international organisations.

Science and Technology Vice-Minister Liu Yanhua said the cash will be handed out in both loans and grants, but regulations might be adjusted after assessing their practical impact.

REUTERS NEWS SERVICE


China is Set on Curbing Fossil Fuels -- Climate Chief

PlanetArk CHINA

7th February 2007

BEIJING - China's top climate official said on Tuesday that Beijing is determined to curb the use of fossil fuels behind global warming, but deflected questions of whether the big emitter will accept caps on greenhouse gases.

Qin Dahe, chief of the China Meteorological Administration, said the nation's leaders worried that global warming, bringing intensifying droughts, floods and heat waves in its wake, would undermine development goals.

"The Chinese government is taking climate change extremely seriously," Qin told a news conference. "President Hu Jintao has said that climate change is not just an environmental issue but also a development issue, ultimately a development issue."

Qin was a co-chairman of the United Nations scientific panel on climate change that last week reported that global warming was a certainty and an accumulated outpouring of greenhouse gases from factories, power stations and vehicles was all but certainly behind the warming.

The panel gave a "best estimate" that temperatures would rise by between 1.8 and 4.0 Celsius (3.2 and 7.8 Fahrenheit) this century.

Asked what China planned to do, Qin stressed Beijing's commitment to improving energy efficiency by 20 percent in coming years, and to shifting the country from overwhelming dependence on coal, one of the main fuel sources of greenhouse gases.

"This is an ambitious and extremely difficult objective," he said. "The government is very urgent about this demand."

Many environmental advocates have also urged widening the UN's Kyoto Protocol, which binds 35 industrial nations to cut emissions by 2012 but excludes developing nation emitters, including China and India, from specific targets.

But Qin did not directly answer questions about whether China would accept a cap on emissions, instead stressing that the country needed support to buy clean-energy technology.

"As a developing country that's growing rapidly and has a big population, to thoroughly transform the energy structure and use clean energy would need a lot of money," Qin said.

Qin's comments were the first extended public reaction to the U.N climate report from a Chinese official, and reflected China's awkward status as both a major producer of greenhouse gases and a victim of potentially catastrophic climate change.

China is hurtling towards possibly becoming the world's third-biggest economy by 2008, overtaking Germany and trailing only Japan and the United States. But that growth has been fuelled by coal-burning power stations and wheezing factories.

Chinese officials point to their country's relatively low per capita emissions of greenhouse gases, saying the main culprits are developed nations, who have no right to deny economic growth to others.

Qin cited data showing that in 2000 China was already the world's second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. But he could not provide more recent data.

"Unfortunately, I don't have information from the past few years at hand," he said. "I think that maybe you can check these things in some magazines."

REUTERS NEWS SERVICE


ANALYSIS - China CDM Growth not Enough to Tackle Emission Rise

PlanetArk CHINA

9th February 2007

BEIJING - Beijing needs to clean up its power plants and start burying the carbon dioxide they pump out, as a booming trade in emissions cuts under Kyoto is dwarfed by a spiralling number of coal-burning stations, officials say.

The world's number two producer of greenhouse gases refuses to accept caps on emissions growth, but touts efficiency and renewable energy targets as a sign of its green credentials and has attracted a slew of investment under the Kyoto Protocol.

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) allows industrialised nation polluters that overshoot their own targets to fund projects in the developing world to make up the gap.

In the first nine months of 2006 over 60 percent of CDM credits came from China and such carbon trade is expected to funnel between US$6 and US$15 billion dollars a year into Asia, specialists at the Asian Development Bank say.

But China's emissions problems are so severe that even if it continues to suck in 60 percent of CDM cash it would not be enough to address the impact of a voracious appetite for power to fuel the country's double digit annual growth.

The International Energy Agency has warned that if China does not make fundamental shifts in how it powers its economy, it could overtake the United States as the world's top greenhouse gas emitter by 2009.

"We are not so ambitious that through CDM alone we can make such reductions... but perhaps emissions will not increase as estimated by the IEA," said Lu Xuedu, deputy director of the Office of Global Environmental Affairs, at a conference to launch a Beijing carbon exchange.

China is building power stations at an unprecedented rate, most of them coal-burning plants which contribute to smog and acid rain as well as global warming.

Last year alone China added over 100 gigawatts of new capacity -- approaching the 112 GW of France's entire installed power plant capacity as of 2004.

"The main issue is that coal is cheap, its the cheapest form (of generation) apart from hydro that they have," said Merrill Lynch analyst Joseph Jacobelli.

CLEAN COAL

The head of the country's Coordination Committee on Climate Change, Gao Guangsheng, told Reuters the country was exploring whether it could use CDMs to fund clean-ups at the country's large coal-burning power stations.

Under current rules coal burning stations are not eligible for credits though in theory they could qualify for efficiency upgrades, or conversions to cleaner fuels such as gas, said one CDM expert.

Assuming hundreds of countries around the world can agree to extend Kyoto beyond 2012, then new rules may allow the CDM to fund carbon capture and storage, where coal plant carbon emissions are buried underground.

In addition, Beijing wants to spread around CDM cash -- until now focused on curbing emissions at big industrial plants -- and that way spark a grassroots revolution which could yield more action. "If we can do this not just in one or two places but in the whole country, emissions reductions will be much larger than just for industrialised gas projects," said Lu.

It will do this through a CDM tariff, and a joint programme with the United Nations to foster smaller projects, as well as by launching a carbon exchange to boost the market for credits from small producers.

"This programme aims to improve the ability of poorer areas in developing and registering CDM projects, which have not been so involved so far," said climate change chief Gao.

Story by Emma Graham-Harrison

REUTERS NEWS SERVICE


China to Require Swap of Old Coal Plants for New

PlanetArk, CHINA

1th February 2007

BEIJING - China will require firms wanting to build new coal-fired power plants to shut down smaller, older generators at the same time, as part of a drive to boost energy efficiency and cut back pollution, Beijing said on Wednesday.

The energy policy-setting National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a statement posted on its Web site (www.ndrc.gov.cn) that to build a 300 megawatt power station, 240 MW of capacity must be decommissioned.

For larger, more efficient new stations the amount of old capacity that must be put out of service is lower -- 420 MW for a new 600 MW station and just 600 MW for a 1 gigawatt generator.

China aims to elimate small generating plants with 50 GW of capacity, around 8 percent of the country's total, by the end of the decade. This includes 7 to 10 GW of fuel oil-fired capacity.

Coal powered plants with capacity under 50 megawatts (MW) will be ordered to close by 2010, as will 100 MW generators that have been in operation for 20 years or more.

The NDRC said generators with coal consumption more than 10 percent above the average in their province or 15 percent higher than the national average were also targeted for closure.

China aims to cut the amount of energy it uses per dollar of national income by 20 percent by 2010 as part of a drive to curb growing pollution and dependence on foreign oil, but failed to meet its target last year by a wide margin, officials have said.

Coal plants provide around 80 percent of the country's power. Zhao Xiaoping, chief of the commission's energy bureau, said China was in a strong position to improve efficiency and upgrade its technology because the country had added a large amount of capacity recently.

It is not currently at risk of repeating the power shortages that caused brownouts across much of the country in recent summers after around 100 GW of new capacity came online in 2006. Over 70 GW more is expected this year.

Nearly half the coal burned in China is used to generate electricity, and power plants produced more than 50 percent of the country's emissions of acid-rain causing sulfur dioxide in 2005, Zhao added..

REUTERS NEWS SERVICE


Bribery charges hit governor in mining county

By Zhang Liuhao, Shanghai Daily

9th February 2007

A FORMER chief of a poor mining county in north China is facing charges for embezzling, misappropriating and taking bribes totaling more than nine million yuan (US$1.12 million), including 2.45 million yuan in social security funds.

Cui Baohong, former chief of Shunhe County, Shanxi Province, went on trial on December 18 for corruption, according to a report of the Procuratorial Daily yesterday, a newspaper run by the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

Cui's misconduct surfaced in August 2005 when an anonymous report was sent to county prosecutors, saying the social security fund appropriated to a local coal mine had been drained.

Prosecutors found Cui, then the county chief, embezzled 2.45 million yuan from social security funds, appropriated to two coal mining companies in the county, the newspaper report said.

After the embezzlement, Cui was transferred to Qixian County as its chief.

In September 2005, Cui was placed in custody during an investigation by the local Party discipline inspection authority, the newspaper said.

With a deepening probe, more wrongdoings committed by Cui were uncovered.

He allegedly took advantage of his post, when he was the Shunhe County chief, to take more than three million yuan in bribes, of which more than two million yuan were offered by local coal mine owners.

In 2004, Shanxi provincial government launched a campaign to clean up the province's coal mining industry, in which collieries with an annual output lower than 90,000 tons were required to shut down due to safety concerns.

To survive the campaign, many bosses of small coal mines gave money to Cui, asking for an exemption.

Investigators found a coal mine in the county, whose annual capacity was only 50,000 tons, didn't close until Cui left the county, as the mine owner offered 500,000 yuan to Cui.

Also, prosecutors found the director of the county's coal management bureau gave 35,000 yuan to Cui in the Spring Festival of 2002, 2004 and 2005, asking Cui to increase the budget for the bureau. The director of the local construction bureau was also found to offer bribes several times for the same reason.


Highly radioactive copper ore uncovered at Shandong's Yantai Port

Shandong's Yantai Port recently reported a highly radioactive 300-ton batch of copper ore imported from Africa, an official from the Shandong provincial Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau said Monday.

The imported batch of African copper ore was intercepted at Yantai Port where 113 tons out of the total 282.6 tons were found to be highly radioactive.

"The radioactive copper ore has been safely sealed and will be returned to the vendor," the official surnamed Sun said.

In August, another 1,590 tons of highly radioactive copper ore, also from Africa, was intercepted at Yantai Port and was returned. This occurred because the vendors were able to provide non-radioactive inspection certificates, although they were not properly authorized.

The bureau has requested that companies avoid imports from high-risk areas and from vendors who lack credibility. In the meantime, the bureau will enhance inspections and risk rating efforts.

[Interfax China, 9 February 1007]

 

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