A modernized development path for the mining industry to improve its social, environmental, and economic benefits and to promote greater cooperation is outlined to ensure a sustainable growth across the Asia-Pacific region at the 5th APEC Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Mining in Beijing.
Ministers and representatives from 18 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation economies, the APEC Secretariat, APEC Business Advisory Council and related authorities of China attended the meeting.
Wang Yong, a State councilor of China and Chairman of the State-owned Assetd Supervision and Administration Commission, gave the opening speech, in which he outlined the role mining plays in fueling socio-economic development in the region. He said the current slowdown within the sector, due to the sluggish global economy, was only temporary and that emerging consumption trends made closer cooperation essential.
“Mineral exploration, investment and trade play a vital role in promoting economic and social development, creating jobs, reducing poverty, improving our infrastructure and narrowing the gap between different regions,” Wang said. “It also provides a solid foundation for development and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific.”
He said that emerging economies were pressing ahead with the process of urbanization and industrialization and therefore the demand for metals and minerals will remain robust for years to come.
Modernization of mining key to sustainable future
“Global industrial restructuring and the new technology revolution are gaining momentum,” Wang added. “Developed economies are upgrading their manufacturing sectors and are also working to reindustrialize themselves.”
The Asia-Pacific is the largest producer and consumer of mineral resources. It accounts for nearly half of the global production and consumption of oil and gas as well as around 70 percent of mineral products such as coal, copper, iron, nickel and zinc.
Jiang Daming, minister of China’s Ministry of Land and Resources, and also the chairman of this year’s meeting, said that APEC economies should increase their efforts to strengthen mining investment and trade cooperation, boost innovative and science-based development, and encourage enterprises to fulfill their social responsibilities and promote cooperative, secure, efficient, green and integrated mining development.
“These are common tasks we should embrace,” Jiang said.
Ministers shared the experiences of their industries and discussed policies and strategies for addressing these issues and formulated the next step for regional cooperation in the mining sector.
Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat Alan Bollard noted that mineral products are used in nearly every production process today. “The guidance that ministers offer to further mining investment and trade facilitation, research and development, environmental protection and safety, and the implementation of it, will help to establish new industry projects and ensure they are developed in a sustainable way that brings greater benefits to society,” said Bollard.
The meeting is an official forum among APEC economies. It has been held in different economies in the past decade and it aims to cover the year’s most important issues in mining industry and work out effective policies and solutions to address them.