China Table of Contents
After 1949 geological exploration discovered deposits of more than 130 useful minerals (see fig. __, Fuels, Power, Minerals, and Metals, 1983). China is among the world leaders in proven deposits of tungsten, antimony, rare earth, molybdenum, vanadium titanium, pyrite, gypsum, barite, copper, tin, lead, zinc, aluminum, mercury, manganese, nickel, phosphorus, asbestos, fluorite, magnesite, and borax. Of these, China exported antimony, tin, and tungsten in significant quantities. In general, mineral extraction was inadequate for industrialization because of transportation bottlenecks and shortages of modern equipment for mining, smelting, and refinement. A number of important mineral products were imported despite large domestic deposits, including aluminum, copper, and zinc.
Among the rare earth metals and ferroalloys, beryllium, tungsten, molybdenum, barium, manganese, mercury, niobium, zirconium, and titanium were present in large reserves and were extracted in adequate quantities. Deficiencies existed in chromium, platinum, and gold.
China produced sufficient quantities of most nonmetallic minerals to meet domestic needs. Barite, fluorite, salt, and talc were available in massive reserves and were exported in large quantities. Graphite, magnesite, phosphates, and pyrite were less abundant but generally satisfied domestic demand. Sulphur deposits were large, but quality was low and imports were necessary.
China is rich in uranium and has favorable geological conditions for the formation of uranium deposits. The ore is easy to mine and dress because of its relatively simple physical composition.
Data as of July 1987