Copper mining is not a new idea in China, but the Chinese government is now trying to clean up its own soil to make way for mining.
Last month, the state-owned China National Mining Corporation launched a $1 billion program to improve the quality of the soil and help improve the mining industry, Reuters reports.
Copper is mined in many of China’s coal mines, and while the country is still one of the world’s biggest producers of the metal, the world is catching up.
In recent years, the price of copper has dropped to around $300 per tonne.
With that falling price, China’s copper mines are struggling to compete in a global market, and it is now making the effort to clean them out.
It’s hoped the program will be more sustainable, and more environmentally friendly, than traditional mining methods, such as using a landfill.
It will also make the soil better for the economy.
According to Reuters, the government hopes the program “will be more economically efficient, more sustainable and will be cost-effective in the long run.”
The first phase of the program aims to clean out copper mines by 2020, while the second phase aims to cover all of China.