In spite of negative stories by the New York Times and other east coast news media, mining company executives, investors and analysts Tuesday insisted that China is, indeed, a good place for miners and explorationists to do business.
In presentations to the Denver Gold Group's Asia Pacific Gold Forum in San Francisco, a number of junior explorers/producers had high praise for Chinese officials in their willingness to accommodate and facilitate foreign mining investment and development in China.
Jinshan Gold Mines Vice President, Corporate Development, Roger Walsh estimated that 25 foreign-managed companies are now working in China. In his experience with the Chang Shan Hoa gold mine, Walsh found that the Chinese Government is very good about providing infrastructure quickly to serve mining projects.
Walsh is also seeing a streamlining of assets in China, aimed at optimizing gold mines to a western standard in operational efficiency and compliance with environmental standards. Meanwhile, companies with projects in China can raise capital both on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges.
James Moore, President and CEO of Inter-Citic Minerals, said his company has attracted investment from two of Hong Kong's most prominent families. The company specifically targeted discoveries in areas where the Chinese Communist Party has not invested. It is now developing the Dachang Gold Project in Qinghai Province.
Eldorado Gold was the first North American company to produce gold in China when its Tanjianshan mine began production in 2007. Chief Operating Officer Norman Pitcher-whose company has projects in several nations-said he considers Inner Mongolia a very good place to operate. He also noted that a lot of China's current small mining operations really should be bigger mines.
Pitcher has noted a trend to give foreign operators more refractory deposits in China, while they are also being shifted to consider developing more expensive projects which are beyond the means of domestic companies. Meanwhile, junior miners and explorers can find themselves in competition with China's major miners for development of larger deposits, he added.
In his keynote address to the fund managers, institutional investors, analysts and mining executives attending the conference, Frank Holmes, CEO and CIO for U.S. Global Investors, said he has no idea of why so much China-bashing takes place, particularly in the New York Times.
Holmes noted that China and Indian leaders now are in charge of 40% of the world's population. Both nations are also undergoing rapid urbanization with 500 million Chinese expected to move to cities or towns over the next three decades.
He also praised both nations' investment in intellectual and fixed capital, particularly toward education. Meanwhile, China's Internet Subscribers are now surpassing U.S. levels.