Mon, Jan 13, 2003 - Page 10 News List

China runs low on mineral resources

AFP , BEIJING

China is facing a serious shortage of mineral resources and will be forced to drastically increase its imports to meet demand over the next 20 years, a state-run newspaper said Sunday.

The Workers Daily said a report by the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences highlighted what analysts called a "very shocking" situation.

Apart from coal, all China's mineral resources are in short supply, including gas and oil.

It said the degree of dependence on imports will rise, which the report concluded was "very dangerous to national security."

All major oil fields in China are close to running dry, the academy said. China is one of the biggest consumers of oil in the world.

It estimated that by the year 2020, China will need to import 70 percent of its crude oil, or 500 million tonnes, and 50 percent of its gas requirements, or 100 billion cubic meters.

Last year China imported just 65 million tonnes of oil. No figures were given for gas imports.

The report estimated that within the next 20 years China would also need to buy an extra 3 billion tonnes of iron, 500 million tonnes of copper and 100 million tonnes of aluminium.

Zinc and tungsten, which China currently exports, would soon have to be imported. The newspaper said the report had been sent to the State Council's national planning committee and the national economic and trade committee.

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