SHANGHAI, Sept. 7 -- China should establish a mineral resource reserve system comprised of state and company stockpiles to fuel the country's long-term economic growth, said an industry official today.
"Mineral reserves should include both mineral resources and finished products," Xu Xu, president of the China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals and Chemicals Importers and Exporters, said in a printed speech to be delivered at an industry conference in Beijing. "Importing mineral products has become one of the bottlenecks of economic development, threatening China's economic security."
Imports of copper and iron ore account for nearly 40 percent and more than 60 percent of domestic consumption, respectively, according to CRU International Ltd. China, the largest metals consumer, cut export quotas for rare earth by 72 percent for the second half to meet domestic demand.
"Mineral resources should be controlled and preserved by the government once they're discovered, and serve as reserves subject to gradual exploitation when necessary," Xu said.
China's State Bureau of Material Reserve, also known as the State Reserve Bureau, operates under the National Development and Reform Commission and formulates reserve strategy and manages state buying of mineral reserves.
State enterprises should be responsible for stockpiling mineral products for economic security and private companies should handle production, Xu said.
"We should also continue to seek overseas investment," to meet the growing domestic demand, he said.