China produced more than 70% of the world's tungsten, was the largest producer and exporter of rare earths, the largest producer of cement, tin and, steel, and a world leader in the production of antimony. Intensive geologic exploration has yielded greatly expanded mineral reserves. This increase in known subsurface resources was reflected in production rises for China's most important mineral products-ore, petroleum, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, tungsten, mercury, antimony, tin, molybdenum, barite, fluorspar, magnesite, and rare earths.
China - mining
In 2000, China produced a total of 7.51 million tons of 10 nonferrous metals, 14.6% more than in 1999; production in all 10 metals increased. The production of iron and steel was China's leading industry in 2002, ore production ranked second, and petroleum, cement, and chemical fertilizers were among the top eight. Mineral fuels ranked fifth among export commodities. GDP grew by 8% in 2000 and 7.1% in 1999, due mainly to a strong turnaround of exports.
Iron ore production in 2000 (gross weight) was 224 million tons, down from 268 million in 1997. Virtually all iron mining was carried out north of the Hongxingtze River, and the country's total resources totaled 55,000 million tons, the largest reserves being in Liaoning, Hebei, and Sichuan. The largest producers- Anshan Mining Co. (in Liaoning, Anshan) and Shoudu (Capital) Mining Co. (Beijing)-had annual capacities of 30 million tons and 20 million tons, respectively. As domestic iron deposits were of a low ore grade (less than 35% on the average) and required concentration, China has imported more than 50 million tons of ore in the past several years, and steel enterprises continued to look for joint-venture possibilities for iron mines in other countries. Officials from Heilongjiang Province and the Jewish Autonomous Republic of Russia discussed developing the Kimkan iron ore deposit (Khabarovsk, Russia), whose reserves totaled 189 million tons.
Copper output (metal content) was 590,000 tons, up from 520,000 in 1999, 487,000 in 1998, and 439,000 in 1996. Because domestic concentrates supplied one-half of the country's rising demand and 40% of smelters' needs, China imported 1.8 million tons of concentrates in 2000, 45% more than in 1999. Three major copper mining development projects would add 100,000 tons of output capacity by 2003. The Ministry of Land Resources announced the discovery of a large porphyry copper deposit in eastern Tianshan (southwest of Hami City, in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region) that contained 10 million tons of copper ore (0.5%-1.5% copper), 3,000 tons of silver, 100 tons of gold, and a significant amount of molybdenum.
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