Mining, reshaping nature and harmony with green needs to balance interests

“Only through government power can nature be preserved.”

- "The Father of the National Park" John Muir's advice to former US President Theodore Roosevelt

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China will "adhere to the harmonious coexistence of man and nature" as one of the fourteen basic strategies for adhering to and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, emphasizing that the modernization to be built is the modernization of harmonious coexistence between man and nature.

The harmonious coexistence between man and nature is the basis for human survival and development. How to realize the harmonious symbiosis between man and nature is a major scientific issue facing the management decision-makers of regional ecological security. As an industry that directly and naturally supports and safeguards the national energy resources, how can the mining industry develop a comprehensive understanding of the harmonious coexistence between man and nature? What are the misunderstandings in dealing with the relationship between man and nature? Natural harmony and symbiosis modernization?

At the recent 2017 China Mining Industry Chain Conference (2nd) and the China Mineral Resources and Materials Application Innovation Alliance Inaugural Meeting, a sub-forum with the theme of “Green Mining Development” was set up to explore ecological protection. Under the background of the mining industry, including the “exploration, development, environmental restoration” and other aspects of the mining industry chain how to adapt to the new era and new situation, adjust the direction of efforts, and strive to achieve environmental protection, economic and social benefits and win-win. In the whole process of the forum, how to withdraw the mining rights of the ecological function zone is the most concerned issue for experts, scholars and even enterprises.

Mining green development has become a consensus

What is the connotation of "harmony between man and nature"?

In essence, people can use nature and transform nature, but in the end it is part of nature. Man and nature should be a symbiotic relationship. People are born of nature and naturally provide resources for the development of human society, and the waste generated by humans after using these resources will be treated by nature or left in nature.

I have to admit that "the current Chinese mining industry is grayish green."

Decades of rough mining and utilization methods have caused geological disasters such as ground subsidence caused by mineral resources development, mining activities have caused serious damage to land resources, and soil and water environment pollution caused by mining activities has caused deterioration of ecological environment. Environmental issues require us to implement ecological protection with a firmer determination.

Zhu Qing, a researcher at the China Institute of Land and Resources Economics of the Ministry of Land and Resources, believes that resource development and ecological protection are dialectical and unified. Resources are an integral part of ecology, and ecology is made up of resources. At the same time, the development of resources will inevitably disturb the ecology. However, there is a possibility boundary for development protection between the two, and the most accurate parameters for judging this "probability boundary" are "ecological protection red line", "environmental quality bottom line" and "resource utilization online". The boundary of the possibility of mineral development and ecological protection is constrained by the level of technology and government management, and by raising the level of both, thereby expanding the possibility boundary of mineral development and ecological protection. From an international perspective, developed countries have advanced technologies and cleaner production methods. At the same time, developed countries have richer capital and advanced management experience than developing countries, and the less developed economies of the country have resource output and ecological environment. The more contradictory the contradiction.

The report “The New Era of Green Development” released by the “China Green Transformation 2050 Task Force” proposes that many of the existing development theories, models, systems and policy systems are established and served in the traditional industrial era, to some extent There are internal conflicts in ecological civilization. The traditional industrialization model must obey the logic of ecological civilization and carry out systematic transformation on the basis of ecological civilization. The existing conventional development model based on the traditional industrial era is the real high-cost economy, but these costs are mostly ignored in the form of hidden costs, external costs, long-term costs and opportunity costs. And green transformation is not a burden of economic development. A green economy based on ecological civilization is a truly new economy that is cheaper, more efficient, and represents the future direction, although this transformation process will be very difficult.

“Mining development has taken a path for economic development. But so many mines have found but can not be opened, because it will destroy the environment when it is opened. The environment is more important than mining. The environment is the basis of survival. Only the sun has clean water and fresh air. People can continue to live." In the "Green Mining Development" theme forum, Zhao Wenjin, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, stated his core point of view - green mines are the only way out for the sustainable and healthy development of the mining industry.

In fact, in recent years, China's mineral resources development and utilization have increasingly focused on protecting the ecology and actively developing green mining. Since 2011, 661 national green mine pilot projects have been completed, forming a new model of green mining of mineral resources. In the past five years, geological prospecting has fully implemented green exploration... Ecological protection has gradually formed a social consensus in the field of resource development and utilization.

It is undeniable that it is also the best time to achieve transformational development and implement ecological protection and restoration.

A widely accepted view of the industry is that a new cycle of economic development has begun, and it has already highlighted the characteristics of “technology is king”. Technology and its impact on cost will be the main driving force of this change. In this process, resource consumption and supply and demand patterns have also changed significantly. After the big cycle, the resource supply and demand pattern is firstly under the accelerated technological change scenario, the resource demand will definitely decline; secondly, the resource supply flexibility will increase, the resource supply structure will be greatly adjusted, and the mineral products based on new energy and new materials will quickly become popular; Once again, the price increase is only fleeting, and the price drop and cost increase will become the norm of resource supply and demand... This is a green development concept that comprehensively establishes the ecological prosperity and civilization, realizes the transformation of the mining industry, and effectively manages resources and Ecological protection has won the best window period.

The right to mine in the nature reserve is urgent

Academician Zhao Wenjin emphasized that the development of social economy is inseparable from the development and utilization of mineral resources, but the state must establish a "gate" from the policy. "The meaning and purpose of this 'valve' is to resolve the contradiction between resources and ecology."

In the past two years, this "gate" is also gradually tightening. In addition to the policy system of green mine construction, step by step, the current exit of mining rights in the provinces (regions, cities) of the provinces at the end of the year is also a demonstration of the “gate”.

The most important value of a nature reserve, or what is called an “ecological functional zone” in a larger context, is to preserve the true, complete, and unspoiled types of resources to the greatest extent possible.

A considerable part of China's mineral resources are distributed in nature reserves at all levels.

According to the statistics of authoritative departments, the national-level nature reserve and the national key metallogenic belts have a combined area of ​​400,000 square kilometers, accounting for 10% of the key metallogenic belts, including Bangong Lake-Nujiang, East Kunlun, Qilian and Southwest Sanjiangcheng. The overlap area of ​​the ore belt is more than 20%; the coincidence area with 90 key exploration areas is 63,700 square kilometers, accounting for 13.63% of the key exploration areas. In many provinces or regions, nature reserves, water source protection areas and mineral resources are more coincident. There are more than 300 mines in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region within the protection zone of nature reserves and water source areas, accounting for 7.2% of the total number of existing mines; 144 cases of mining and prospecting rights were once set up in the Qilian Mountain National Nature Reserve. After demarcation in 2014, In violation of laws and regulations, 9 mining rights and 5 exploration rights were approved and extended in the protected area; there were more than 270 mining sites in the Qinling Nature Reserve; and 86 mining enterprises existed in the Helan Mountain National Nature Reserve.

Therefore, how to deal with the relationship between ecological protection and resource development and utilization can not be overemphasized.

To implement ecological protection, first of all, to answer what ecological protection is to protect; second, where to protect, where to recover, and where to develop.

Mining policy is of great importance. It cannot simply be “one size fits all” across the country. It requires repeated argumentation from all over the country to finalize a more scientific and practical development model.

“For example, should the national strategic resources in the protected area be mined? Uranium is very scarce in China. At present, the installed nuclear power capacity is about 22 million kilowatts. The radioactive minerals support the installed capacity of this scale, which will inevitably increase the resources. Foreign dependence. If we want to increase our efforts to develop nuclear power in the future, how can resources be supported? For example, should mineral resources such as mineral water and hot springs be used to exploit resources that are less disturbing to the environment? Should we consider this differently?” Wu Qiang, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering It is said that the nature reserve should eliminate mining development that is harmful to the environment. This is correct in terms of overall thinking, but differentiated management should be considered for special situations.

In fact, in response to the disposal of mining rights in nature reserves, relevant administrative departments at all levels have successively introduced various policy measures, all of which are firmly pointed to “avoidance” and “clearing out”.

In 2016, the four ministries and commissions made a dynamic revision of the National Strategic Plan for Prospecting for Mines, and the entire exploration and exploration area completely evaded and withdrew from the nature reserve; strengthened mineral exploration beyond the ecological red line, promoted deep resource exploration and evaluation, and comprehensively adjusted from the top level. Survey layout.

In July 2017, the Ministry of Land and Resources issued the “Working Plan for the Cleanup of Mining Rights in Nature Reserves” to promote the clean-up of mining rights in various protected areas. It is forbidden for social capital to enter the nature reserve for exploration. The minerals identified in the protected area can only be used as a national strategic reserve resource. Fails to quit for the mining industry, to information on relevant departments on credit information sharing platform released, discipline and the implementation of joint credit constraints in the supply of land according to the law, financial support, tax management.

In June 2017, Gansu Province issued the “Gansu Province Implementation of the Central Environmental Protection Inspector Feedback Review Plan”, which stated that the commercial exploration and mining rights already set up in the nature reserve will be withdrawn within a time limit; The legal exploration and mining rights, as well as the complete exploration procedures after the establishment of the nature reserve, have been approved by the competent authorities of the protected area, and provide differentiated compensation and withdrawal plans, and organize implementation; Other relevant historical issues that have been legally existed before the establishment of the district, and plans have been formulated to promote the solution step by step.

On December 1, 2017, the Hunan Provincial Government issued the “Disposal Plan for the Exit of Mining Rights in Nature Reserves in Hunan Province” and the “Disposal Plan for the Exploitation of Exploration Rights in Nature Reserves in Hunan Province”. According to the plan, according to the time series of the establishment of nature reserves and the right to set up mining rights, all the exploration rights and mining rights in Hunan national and provincial nature reserves can be directly closed, cancelled, partially evaded and withdrawn. Withdrawal from the nature reserve, while ensuring that no exploration rights and mining rights are newly established in the nature reserve; clearing the exploration rights and mining rights set by the central environmental protection inspectors and other compensation rights and compensation for mining rights involving nature reserves The standard, due to its own reasons, will not compensate for the failure of the exploration rights and mining rights, and compensation will be provided for the sub-cases caused by objective reasons.

On December 5, the Xinjiang Provincial Department of Land and Resources issued three announcements in a row—for the 235 prospecting rights and 50 mining rights mining rights holders that are still valid, immediately stop all exploration and mining activities, withdraw from the nature reserve, and carry out geological environment restoration and treatment. Work and completed on time; within the scope of various nature reserves (not including the black bee nature reserve), the 372 exploration rights mining right holders who submitted the continuation application without approval will be terminated immediately before the expiration of the validity period, immediately stop all exploration activities and withdraw Nature reserve; 288 exploration rights and 38 mining rights within the scope of various nature reserves in the autonomous region (not including the black bee nature reserve), which have been abolished by themselves during the validity period (in various nature reserves) The application for exploration rights and mining rights will not be approved.) However, the issue of compensation after cancellation is the most concerned about the industry.

How to compensate for the withdrawal of mining rights still has no rules to follow

According to Dr. Su Yang, a researcher at the Development Research Center of the State Council, the withdrawal of mining rights in nature reserves is not an easy task.

First of all, accurately defining the "legal identity" of mining rights is a difficult point.

In his article published in China Development Watch, he pointed out that from the process of delineating protected areas, there are many misconceptions in terms of property rights: when the country establishes a nature reserve, it will carry out “early planning and long-term planning”. After the plan was established, most of the nature reserves did not seek the consent of the right holders of the production and living facilities and the residents of the villages and towns within the scope of the plan, and did not reach an agreement with the original rights holders through compensation, replacement, requisition and other measures. The "Regulations on Nature Reserves" also do not clearly define the issues left over from these historical issues, so that most of the issues such as "the identity of the rights holders in nature reserves, the powers and responsibilities of the competent authorities, and the protection of rights are protected" have no clear legal conclusions. It is therefore difficult for district management agencies to achieve “two unified exercises” for natural resource asset management and land and space use control.

Second, the compensation after the mining rights exit, where does the money come from.

For the “establishment of the gradual withdrawal mechanism of established mining rights”, Su Yang’s understanding is that the withdrawal of mining rights is not a simple mine withdrawal, but a scientific mine withdrawal (ecosystem assessment, ecological restoration process observation, public supervision and participation) and formation. After-sales mechanism (funding mechanism, ownership of strategic reserve mines and post-approval procedures, resource monitoring), that is, to retreat the first account.

In accordance with relevant policies, the mining rights of the nature reserve are required to be withdrawn, and the mining right holder may file an application for compensation in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Administrative License Law of the People's Republic of China. Mining rights withdrawal compensation funds should be included in the government budget or related special funds.

Zhu Qing believes that the mining rights in the nature reserve have no economic winners in the short term; in the long run, the social and local ecological dividends, but there are pressures for compensation and compensation at all levels. Therefore, it is particularly important to think deeply about the economic relationship of the withdrawal of mining rights in protected areas.

He suggested that for the withdrawal of mining rights, it is possible to consider an intertemporal compensation plan and freely combine “price refund”, “fixed asset investment” and “future expected return”. At the same time, it is necessary to recognize that the current consumption of domestic mineral resources has changed from high-speed growth to low- and medium-speed growth. The dependence on major minerals such as oil , natural gas , iron , copper , aluminum and potash is high, and the support for mineral resources needs to be further strengthened. The problems of urgent environmental problems left over from the history of mineral development, such as strengthening the top-level design and building a long-term mechanism; insisting on multi-regulation, carefully preparing mineral resources planning, grasping the source control of mining rights management in protected areas; strengthening technology Research on standards, legal norms and specific procedures to build a long-term mechanism for the management and management of protected areas and mineral resources. In the medium and long term, the exploration and development management of protected areas and mineral resources should be incorporated into the mineral resources legal system. It is necessary to seriously solve the problem of “one license and two rights” for mineral resources exploration and exploitation licenses, and coordinate the registration of natural resources and the natural resource management system. The reform solves a series of problems such as the overlapping of property rights of natural resources of different attributes, the competition of property rights, the ownership of property rights, and the withdrawal of property rights.

It is reported that for the withdrawal of mining rights in nature reserves, guidance documents at the national level are on the way.

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