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Dr. Li Jinfa, vice president of China Geologica

Now, on behalf of MLR and CGS, I’d like to release the “2016 China Geochemical Survey Report”

Chemical elements are called ‘genes’ of the Earth. Geochemical surveys aims to map the abundance and spatial distribution of chemical elements on the Earth, thus providing scientific data for mineral exploration and environmental protection. The systematic geochemical survey projects conducted in China have made a great contribution to the development and management of mineral resources, soil and ground water.  China has also made innovations in the fields of geochemical mapping theories, high precision laboratory analysis, standard reference material preparation, and geochemical data management. China has made a great contribution to the world in global geochemical baselines, global sampling methodology, analysis of 76 elements, training and serving the geochemical survey of ‘the Belt and Road’.

1. China has made three outstanding achievements in geochemical surveys serving mineral exploration, land and water resource management
Since 1978, the Regional Geochemistry National Reconnaissance project for mineral resources covered an area of 7 million km2, leading to the discovery of more than 2500 deposits that given approximately 4000 tonnes of gold, which provided sufficient resources to China’s fast industrialisation.
The National Land Quality Geochemical Survey project has covered 1.96 million km². Geochemical evaluation on cultivated land has been done with respect to beneficial and harmful elements in soil. According to the survey, 848,000 km2 of cultivated land are affected by potential hazardous elements, and 34,960 km2 of cultivated land are enriched in selenium. These results are of great value to the management and protection of cultivated land.

The National Ground Water Quality Survey project, covering 4.40 km² of land, discovered that 30.2% of the surveyed ground water met standards for direct drinking water, 34.7% was drinkable after proper processing, and 2418 ground water sites had potential natural mineral water. Thus, this project has provided significant results for exploitation and protection of ground water resources.

2. China has made four scientific and technology innovations in geochemical surveys placing her in the world's leading position
Traditionally, gold is considered to be an inert metal, which could not be transported long distances by stream or river water to form broad-scale gold geochemical anomalies. Ultra-fine gold and nano-gold particles occurring in nature were found, and these can migrate long distances to form broad-scale gold anomalies, which have provided the theoretical foundation for the establishment of a low sampling density method for the regional geochemical mapping of gold. By using activated carbon and polyurethane foam, China has lowered the gold analytical detection limit to 0.3 ng/g, making it possible to delineate anomalies with a very low content of gold.
China has developed analytical technologies for the determination of 76 elements, and has established geochemical laboratory network with 2 national, 6 regional and 30 provincial laboratories, which provide a strong laboratory capacity for cost-effective analysis of samples.
China has developed 234 geochemical standard materials, representing 50% of the total number of standards made in the whole world. These standard materials have been adopted by over 40 countries across the world, including the USA, Canada, Europe and other countries, and shall provide standard materials for global geochemical mapping.

China has developed the geochemical software for the management and processing of regional geochemical data, namely ‘Regional Geochemical Data Management Information System’ and ‘Chemical Earth’. ‘Chemical Earth’ is the first digital Earth platform, providing information about the chemical properties of the globe. Thus, allowing people to access vast amounts of geochemical data and maps through the Internet in order to understand the chemical characteristics of Earth.

3. China has made four outstanding contributions to the global geochemical baselines
China has played a key role in the international cooperation on global geochemical baselines mapping. As one of the initiating countries and one of the leaders of the Global Geochemical Baselines project, China has actively participated in the project since 1988. China is the first country that determined 81 parameters exceeding 71 elements.
China has made a great contribution to the standardisation of international geochemical mapping. As the leading country, China has drafted three geochemical sampling guidelines for different landscapes. In addition, China helped the relevant countries draft 5 geochemical mapping guidelines. And now China is also drafting specific guidelines for data quality control, laboratory analysis, and generation of geochemical atlases.
China has trained more than 600 scientists from developing countries, and shared the experiences and technology with more than 60 countries.

China has helped more than 20 developing countries, particularly the countries in ‘the Belt and Road’ with national geochemical mapping, and provided a large amount of geochemical data.

4. China will focus on five missions of geochemical surveys in the13th Five-year Plan from 2016 to 2020
Firstly, based on the ‘UNESCO International Centre on Global-Scale Geochemistry’, China will firstly implement an International Scientific Cooperation Project on Mapping the Chemical Earth, and generate the internet platform of ‘Chemical Earth’ to assist the sustainable development of natural resources and the environment.
Secondly, we should actively serve ‘the Belt and Road’ strategy, and carry out bilateral cooperation with countries along ‘the Belt and Road’ in geochemical mapping to provide targets for mineral resources, and to serve environmental protection.
Thirdly, China will continue its geochemical survey for mineral resources (the RGNR project) into covered regions of an area of approximately 1 million km2, and extend exploration from base and precious metals to rare earth and energy elements.
4.4. Fourthly, China will complete the cultivated land geochemical survey covering 1.3 million km2 at a scale of 1:250 000, and began to conduct detailed geochemical surveys at a scale of 1:50 000 in some specific areas.
Fifthly, China will continue to implement the Ground Water Quality Survey to cover 1.5 million km2 in the North Plains, the Yangtze River Delta, the Huaihe River Catchment, and the Pearl Delta.