Achievements on Phase-1 of Prospecting Breakthrough Strategy Action

Achievements on Phase-1 of Prospecting Breakthrough Strategy Action

Updated :09,25,2014

In the implementation of Prospecting Breakthrough Strategy Action, acceleration of the introduction of social capital investment has been taken as the most important measure by Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR). In recent 3 years, the prospecting funds amounted to 350 billion Yuan, increasing 28% compared to the input number of the three years from 2008 to 2010, among which the social capital investment accounted for more than 85%. The assessment indicated that all the other minerals have reached the goals of the first phase set for bulk minerals in short supply, except for bauxite and potash. Overall, the Action was implemented smoothly with remarkable results. It is in these three years that most significant prospecting achievements had been made since the founding of New China.

To safeguard the sustainable development of China's economy and society, from 2011 four ministries and commissions, including Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR), National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Finance, organized and implemented Prospecting Breakthrough Strategy Action in accordance with Prospecting Breakthrough Strategy Action Plan (Year 2011- 2020) approved by the State Council. The whole Action will be carried out by three phases and efforts have been taken to achieve three objectives in a row, which are Significant Progress in Three Years, Major Breakthroughs in Five Years and Reshaping the Pattern of Mineral Exploration and Development in Eight to Ten Years.

According to MLR, the objective in the first three years has been achieved in China's energy and mineral resources prospecting, and over 451 mineral deposits of medium size and above (among which 162 are large-sized mineral deposits)were discovered, including a large number of world-class deposits of natural gas, uranium, molybdenum and tungsten.

In terms of energy, the proven reserves of petroleum and natural gas have maintained a high growth. Newly added 3.947 billion tons of petroleum and 2.3 trillion cubic meters of natural gas accounted for 12.57% and 25.3% of accumulative proven reserves of previous years respectively. In the Ordos, Tarim Basin and Bohai Bay 8 oil fields with hundreds of million tons of oil were found consecutively. In Ordos, Sichuan and Tarim Basin, six gas fields of hundreds of billion cubic meters were discovered. Newly discovered 287.7 billion cubic meters of coalbed methane (CBM) were mainly distributed in Qinshui Basin and in the eastern edge of the Ordos Basin, doubled the total proven amount before the end of 2010. First breakthrough made in shale gas was ​​in Chongqing, with capacities of 1.5 billion cubic meters. Newly added 188.6 billion tons of coal reserves were identified and a number of large and super large mineral deposits of coal were discovered in Xinjiang, Shanxi, Fujian and other southern provinces short of coals. A large sandstone type of uranium deposits (Camp uranium) were identified in the Ordos Basin so that a new pattern of uranium mine development and utilization is expected to be formed.

Referring to the other important mineral resources, the new reserves of iron ore are about 9.25 billion tons. Super large ore deposits were found in the traditional iron ore bases, such as Anshan and Benxi, southern Hebei and Panzhihua; and new resource bases are expected to be formed in the middle of Xinjiang and southern Xinjiang iron ore area. The new reserves of copper are about 15.07 million tons, and new copper resource bases are expected to be formed in northwest of Yunnan and the middle of Tibet; moreover, Duolong copper deposit in the northern Tibet became the largest discovery of copper exploration across the globe in 2013, and the new reserves of copper are more than 6 million tons with about 1.5 million associated gold according to the preliminary estimation. The new reserves of bauxite are about 280 million tons, which mainly acquired from traditional bauxite bases in China, such as Shanxi, Henan and Guizhou. The new reserves of gold are about 239,5 tons, and because of the major discovery of gold exploration in Jiaodong area, on the basis of more than 140 tons gold output (about 1/3 of national output), the resource reserves still maintained substantial increase. The northern Yunnan and middle of Qinghai also made important progress, and 100-ton level gold resource bases are expected to be formed in there. These achievements provided resource basis for China to become no.1 in terms of gold output in the world. New tungsten ore reserves (WO3) are about 1.74 million tons, and the biggest tungsten ore in the world was found at Dahutang in northern Jiangxi. The new reserves of molybdenum are about 11.05 million tons, and three 200-ton level molybdenum were found, such as Anhui Shapinggou, as a result, the resource basis for China as the molybdenum’s superpower is more stable.  

In addition, according to the introduction from MLR, the rapid development of basic geological survey leads to a substantial basis of prospecting breakthrough. The upgrade of 1: 500, 00 scale regional geological survey coverage ratio is most obvious, from 22% in 2010 to 30% in 2013, and the workload of three years equals to the 1/3 of the total workload; the coverage ratio in the important prospecting project-scale area is upgraded from 40.6% to 77%, and the coverage ratio in key metallogenetic provinces and belts is upgraded from 33.7% to 56.6%. These work achievements provided important basic geological materials to prospecting breakthrough, and made great contribution; the oil and gas survey newly found 17 favourable target areas, including Tuquan basin, Tuonamu area, Yuka sag, Wulong sag and so on, mineral prospecting survey delineated 190, 00 geophysical-geochemical anomalies, submitted more than 700 exploration target areas, which provided important guide to the continuous commercial risk exploration; the gas hydrate survey acquired high-purity sample in the northern South China Sea continuously, which provided important science accordance to the evaluation and development of sea area gas hydrate resource in China. The evaluation of shallow geothermal resource in provincial cities was completed; the total heat transfer ability of Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) in 31 provincial cities is equivalent to 467 million tons standard coal, which provided a way to make the development and utilization of clean energy. Meanwhile, in 2013, the evaluation work of national mineral resource potentiality finally had a smooth ending; the quantitative forecast of 25 major mineral resources was completed, such as coal, uranium, iron, copper and aluminum, basically found out 25 mineral resources, and the amount of identified resources takes up 1/3 amount of the predicted resources which still has substantial prospecting potentiality; delineated 500,000 forecasting areas, which provided science accordance for the exploration layout in the future.

China has made great progress in geological technologies which led to more breakthroughs in prospecting since the Prospecting Breakthrough Strategy Action was undertaken. “Three-in-one” prospecting prediction models of ten types of mineral deposits in China have been innovated, put into extensive use and it has achieved massive success, adding new reserves to a batch of old mineral deposits, such as Gold mine in Jiaodong peninsula, Copper mine in Hongtou mountain, Lead-zinc mine in Jiangsu province,etc, equivalent to finding another large deposit, which provides resources foundation for stabilizing mining and securing jobs for miners. Innovation Research on Qingzang Plateau geological theory has made great breakthrough in guiding prospecting effectively, which won itself a special prize of National Science and Technology Progress Award 2011. Shallow sampling and drilling techniques have made progress in terms of special landscape geochemical survey. Equipment of exploration technology with independent property rights have been invented, locating deeper deposits more precisely. Especially with the aerogeophysical prospecting comprehensive survey system reaching the internationally advanced level, fast working mechanism of “Air-Earth Integration” was initially established. Those key technologies blocking the exploration and development of shale gas have been successful at the initial stage of nationalization, thus reducing the cost gradually.

China’s mineral resources are abundant in quantities, with mines of low grades and associated ores taking up a large percentage. Based on these characteristics, China initiated the building of Demonstration bases of comprehensive utilization of mineral resources in 2011, and the first batch of 40 demonstration bases went on well.

The action has achieved great success at the first stage, but it doesn’t change the basic conditions of China’s resources, great demand for energy, less identified reserves than needed. Ministry of land and Resources will give full play to the government, market and technologies, organize and carry out next two stages of Action, strengthen the exploration, and provide the economy and society with a solid resource guarantee.