Chinese miners invested a total of 10.73 billion Chinese yuan in acquiring domestic exploration licenses in the first nine months of 2016, up 887.8% from a year ago, according to data from the Ministry of Land and Resources released Oct. 12.
The number of exploration licenses changing hands was up 24.3% year over year to 876. The figure for full-year 2015 was 948, worth a total 1.37 billion yuan.
Meanwhile, investments in Chinese mining licenses were up 126.5% year over year to 16.40 billion yuan in the first three quarters, but the number of licenses declined 27.9% to 1,287.
Trading in both exploration and mining licenses is on the rise in the country's western provinces, the ministry said. The eastern, middle and western provinces of China accounted for 27.7%, 31.5% and 40.8%, respectively, of the 876 exploration licenses traded.
For mining licenses, 18.6%, 30.9% and 51.5% of those traded were from the eastern, middle and western provinces, respectively.
China had a total of 27,600 exploration licenses and 68,265 mining licenses as of Sept. 30.
As of Oct.11, US$1 was equivalent to 6.73 Chinese yuan.