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China encourages private capital in mining industry

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BEIJING, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- China hopes to lure more private investment into its mining industry through a new system of publishing prospecting information for review by potential investors, according to the country's land authority.

Xu Shaoshi, head of the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR), said this at a conference on Thursday staged to plan how the strategic outline of prospecting mines from 2011 to 2020, released by the State Council in late 2011, will be put into practice.

Xu said the key requirement of the outline is to provide information on potential mining sites for the public good and to give private investors low-risk access to the industry.

The government will not compete with enterprises for profits in mining, and mining operations can be run by private enterprises under the outline.

It is hoped that the policy will provide a boost to China's domestic mining industry, and that the country's reliance on imported mineral resources can be lessened.

In 2011, mineral resources took up over 30 percent of China's foreign trade -- a dependance that puts the country at increasing economic and political risk, it is thought.

Zhang Shaochun, deputy minister of the Ministry of Finance, said the central government has been enhancing research of the country's land and resources, and injected 11.5 billion yuan into prospecting mines for 2010 and 2011.

Xu said the government will build a platform based on market mechanisms to attract private investment in mining rights, labor services, technical services and capital so as to make a breakthrough in finding mines.

China is expected to pump 120 billion yuan (about 19.05 billion U.S. dollars) into geologic prospecting in 2012, with only 12.5 billion yuan coming from government at all levels.

Xu said the country's fixed investments in 2012 feature private capital in the real economy, and that the MLR is to create a better situation for private capital and guard its benefits.

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