China may be the world leader in total metal production, yet its imports continue to outstrip exports. With mining companies still wary of any long-term investment in the country, it must exploit its domestic resources to fuel growth. Helen Kearney reports
With commodity prices sustaining their current high levels, major mining companies are under renewed pressure to access new reserves. It has been widely reported that China's insatiable economic growth is fuelling this demand but there is still some question as to whether the country's own resources have been fully exploited.
China is the world leader in metals production. Figures released for 2003 put it as the world's leading producer of aluminium, lead, zinc, magnesium, tin and antimony.
Despite this, imports of minerals and metals, including high-grade iron ore required for steel, continued to outstrip exports, with an increase in trade …