During the next few weeks The ASIA Miner electronic news service will provide extracts from Goldletter International"s report on China"s gold industry. In the Third Quarter- July-September 2007 issue of The ASIA Miner magazine, we will present Marino Pieterse"s overview that China will emerge as the world"s largest gold producer by 2010.
This week we present the topic of China"s gold occurrences from Goldletter International.
Advanced stage precious metals and base metals projects and large areas of mineral lands with potential exist in China and, as a result, there has been a steady growth in the number of foreign mining companies active in China.
About 50% of gold in China occurs in quartz-gold vein structures, with another 17% occurring in placer deposits and the remainder is found in polymetallic deposits, often in association with copper.
China's gold industry is fragmented, archaic and undercapitalised. Most of the production comes from small, underground mines with little mechanisation. There are thought to be more than 1200 small to medium-sized mines in operation throughout the country, equal to about 70% of total gold deposits and representing 25-30% of total proven reserves, with only a few mines producing more than 100,000 ounces annually, although the annual average is closer to 16,000 ounces.
The China Geological and Mineral Survey Bureau estimates the gold resources of China's 10 major provinces to be more than 11,000 tonnes and the country's prospective gold resources at around 15,000 tonnes.
According to statistics of the China Mining Association, Shandong Province in east China is the richest area (about 40% of total proven reserves), followed by Shaanxi, Sichuan, Gansu, Yunnan and Guizhou. Production today is centred on the eastern provinces of Shandong, (28% of total production), Henan (15%), Hunan (6%) and Shaanxi (5%), where 70% of known gold deposits are located.
However, since 1994 Fujian Province (9%) has become a major producer with the opening of the country's largest mine, Zhijinshan, working an epithermal copper-gold deposit.
A joint study by the United States Geological Survey and the Tianjin Geological Academy from 1997 to 2002 identified and reviewed more than 160 gold occurrences in China. Within the category of sedimentary-hosted gold deposits (a broad category including Carlin style), more than 20 million ounces of resources have been identified in China versus more than 70 million ounces in Nevada. The largest deposits of this style discovered to date in China include Lannigou (3.2 million ounces) and Baguamiao (2.5 million ounces) but exploration has generally been neither well funded nor extensive. Most reserve definition programs are limited.
Marino Pieterse was a key presenter at The ASIA Miner Investing in Mining Conference in Sydney in May. His topic explored the opportunities of investing in gold. For more information on Goldletter International go to www.goldletterint.com or e-mail:
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