China is burning through its natural resources – by Vladimir Basov ( – April 26, 2015)

China is the world’s top mining country, but lack of local reserves of main mineral commodities forces local companies to hunt for mining deals globally.

Since nearly all essential production data has became available to the public, this is a good time to determine the biggest mining countries throughout the world in terms of their domestic mines output.

Due to lack of a common methodology, a simple principle of appreciated mining points credited to countries comprising the top 10 was used in this preliminary estimation.

For example, the leader in copper production was awarded 10 points, whereas a country sitting on tenth place earned one point. If a country placed out of the top 10 producers for a particular commodity, it earned zero mining points.

To simplify calculations, no weights reflecting the importance of each commodity, and other modifying factors, were taken into account. Only those most important for the world economy and most popular among investable mineral commodities, have been considered.

The final outcome of this analysis is shown in the following table:

China holds first place with 216 mining points, overwhelmingly ahead of Australia, which sits second with 144 points – and 10 points behind third-ranked Russia. The United States and Canada, fourth and fifth in this ranking, are back-to-back with 92 and 91 mining points, respectively.

Of all commodities considered in this research, China is the leader in mining gold, zinc, lead, molybdenum, iron ore, coal, tin, tungsten, rare earths, graphite, vanadium, antimony and phosphate, and holds second place in mine production of copper, silver, cobalt, bauxite/alumina and manganese. The only two main produced commodities of which China is out of the top 10 are gem diamonds and chromium.

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