Yunnan Mineral Resources

Yunnan is rich in mineral resources with immense reserves. Of the 140 kinds of minerals mined throughout the world, 112 kinds may be found in Yunnan. Lead, zinc, tin, phosphorus and copper are five minerals with the largest reserves in the province, while the reserves of lead, zinc and tin are the largest in China. Mining in Yunnan has been going on for many centuries.

Yunnan Province(云南省) referred to as Dian or Yun(滇或云), is located in the southwest border of China. Archaeological materials prove that as early as 1.7 million years ago, primitive humans such as “Yuanmou people” lived in Yunnan, which is one of the important regions of human origin and has a long history. The administrative construction and regionalization of Yunnan has gone through a long and complicated evolution process. It is bordered by Sichuan and Tibet in the north, Guizhou(贵州) and Guangxi(广西) in the east, Vietnam(越南), Laos (老挝)and Myanmar(柬埔寨) in the south and west respectively, lying between 21°9 ‘-29 °15’ north latitude and 97°31 ‘-106 °12’ east longitude. It covers an area of about 394,000 square kilometers and has a population of 36,972,610, among which ethnic minorities account for about one third. By the end of 2017, Yunnan Province had 8 municipalities under its jurisdiction, eight autonomous prefectures, 67 counties, 29 autonomous counties, 16 county-level cities and 17 municipal districts.

Yunnan(云南) is rich in both metallic and non-metallic minerals due to its complex geological structure. Coal is the most widely distributed nonmetallic ore, Permian carboniferous is the most important in Paleozoic coalfield. Mesozoic coalfields mainly occurred in Triassic, and Cenozoic coalfields occur in the tertiary strata, mainly brown coal. The phosphate rock was formed in the group of Meishu Village(梅树村) in the early Cambrian. Rock salt(岩盐), potassic salt(钾盐), gypsum(石膏) and other nonmetallic minerals were formed in the Mesozoic. The metal ore is mainly non-ferrous metal ore, with many kinds and large reserves, especially Gejiu tin ore, Dongchuan(东川) copper ore and titanium ore whose reserves are among the best of the country are famous in the world, which is known as the “kingdom of non-ferrous metals”. Its shape is greatly influenced by Yanshan(燕山) movement. Iron ore is formed in early metamorphic rocks and also in neritic sedimentary iron ore in devonian sandstone(泥盆系砂岩).

The metallurgical industry is mainly engaged in the mining and smelting of nonferrous metals and is an important production base of nonferrous metals in China. Gejiu(个旧) tin mine is well known in the world and its output ranks the first in China, enjoying the reputation of “Tin-Capital”. Dongchuan(东川), Yimen(易门) and Yongsheng(永胜) are the main copper producing areas. The copper produced at Dongchuan(东川) copper mine is silver in color and is called “Yunnan copper”. Lead and zinc mine of Lanping(兰坪) has large and concentrated reserves, high grade and easy mining, and large smelting scale. In the steel industry, steel, pig iron and steel production are the fastest growing, and small materials are basically self-sufficient. The Kunming iron and steel plant near Anning(安宁) has grown into a medium-sized steel complex that includes mining, iron-making, steelmaking and rolling sectors.

Distribution of Mineral Resources in Yunnan Province

铅(lead)、锌(zinc)、锗(germanium)、铟(indium)、铊(thallium)、镉(cadmium)、磷(phosphorus)、蓝石棉(blue asbestos)、锡(tin)、铂(Platinum)、银(silver)、钾盐(sylvite)、砷(arsenic)、硅灰石(wollastonite)、水泥配料用砂岩(sandstone for cement batching)、硅藻土(diatomite)、铜(copper)、镍(nickel)、钴(cobalt)、锑(antimony)、化肥用蛇纹岩(serpentine for fertilizer)、盐矿(salt mine).

[Tin ore/锡矿] Tin ore of Yunnan concentrated in Gejiu(个旧), Wenshan(文山) and Baoshan(保山) areas. There are 8 proven large and medium-sized mines in west Yunnan, and is expected to build new tin bases.

[Lead and zinc/铅锌] Lead and zinc ore is mainly distributed in west Yunnan and south Yunnan.

[Copper ore/铜矿] There are four large medium-sized copper production bases had been built — Dongchuan(东川), Yimen(易门), Mouding(牟定) and Dayao(大姚) copper ore production base. Dahongshan(大红山) copper mine in Xinping(新坪) has proven reserves of 1.5564 million tons.

[Antimony ore/锑矿] Antimony ore is mainly distributed in southeast Yunnan and west Yunnan, the resource prospect can reach 2.01 million tons.

[Tungsten ore/钨矿] Tungsten ore is mainly distributed in south Yunnan and west Yunnan. Except for Malipo(麻栗坡) and Zhongdian(中甸) tungsten mines, most of them are associated ore with low grade and difficult to use.

[Nickel ore/ 镍矿] Nickel ore is mainly distributed in southern Yunnan. Because 76% of the reserves are nickel silicate, and smelting technology has not yet up to standard, it is temporarily difficult to use.

[Bauxite/铝土矿] Bauxite is concentrated in Kunming(昆明) and Wenshan(文山) areas.

[Iron ore/铁矿] Iron ore is mainly distributed around central Yunnan and Kunming iron and steel co., LTD(昆明钢铁控股有限公司).

[Manganese ore/锰矿] Manganese ore is mainly distributed in southeast Yunnan and west Yunnan.

[Titanium placer/钛砂矿]  Titanium placer is concentrated in Kunming(昆明) and Baoshan(保山) area. The super-large titanium placer discovered in Wuding(武定), Luquan(禄劝) and Fumin(富民) near Kunming is of high grade and easy to be picked up, with geological reserves of 14 million tons, which is one of the best resource prospects in China at present.

[Gold ore/金矿] Gold ore is mainly distributed in western Yunnan and southern Yunnan, and three large gold deposits which located in Mojiang(墨江), Zhenliu(镇流) and Yuanyang(元阳), have been proved.

[Silver ore/银矿] Silver ore is mainly distributed in south and northeast Yunnan.

[Platinum-group metal ores/铂族金属矿] There are 6 kinds of platinum-group metal ores, such as platinum(铂), palladium(钯), osmium(锇), iridium(铱), ruthenium(钌) and rhodium(铑), which are distributed in central Yunnan and western Yunnan. It has metal reserves of 4,743 tons of indium(铟), 7776 tons of thallium(铊) and 179,500 tons of cadmium(镉), ranking first in China. Germanium(锗) 1112.78 tons, ranked second in China. Beryllium (铍)(mineral content) was 36,400 tons, zirconium(锆) (mineral content) was 194,600 tons, and strontium(锶) (celestite, 天青石) was 3,573,100 tons, ranking the 4th in China. The types of ores, except strontium as a single deposit, phosphide, monazite and zircon as placer, are all associated or symbiotic components of nonferrous metals, most of which have not been developed and utilized at present.

[Coal/煤炭] Coal is mainly distributed in east, south and northeast Yunnan, with a resource prospect of 70 billion tons. The proven anthracite reserves of Fuyuan(富源) old factory mining area are nearly 4 billion tons, and the proven lignite reserves of Zhaotong(昭通) basin are 8.15 billion tons, which is the largest anthracite and lignite base in southwest China.

[Phosphate ore/磷矿] Phosphate ore is mainly distributed in central Yunnan and around Dianchi Lake(滇池) in Kunming(昆明).

[Salt mine/盐矿] The Anning(安宁) large salt mine near Kunming city, with large thickness and high grade, is suitable for large-scale water mining. Within 60 square kilometers, the prospective reserves of sodium chloride are 13.089 billion tons and mircanite 6.248 billion tons, making it an ideal salt chemical base.

[Potassic salt ore/钾盐]  Mengyejing Potassic Salt Ore in Jiangcheng County(江城勐野井钾盐矿)、Nepheline Syenite Ore of Baiyun Mountain in Gejiu(个旧白云山霞石正长岩矿).

[Ferric sulfide containing potassium chloride/含氯化钾硫铁] Ferric sulfide containing potassium chloride is mainly distributed in east and northeast Yunnan.

Translated by Dianna Zhou/周晓畋