China Industries and Mining Between 1949 and 1958

By | January 25, 2022

Mineral Resources. – During the first five-year plan (1952-57) research carried out throughout the Chinese territory made it possible to ascertain the existence of vast mineral resources whose amount would be much higher than that calculated before 1949. According to statistical data communicated by the government of the Republic Popular, China would have coal deposits of over 1 trillion tons (valuation before 1949: 260 billion), concentrated mainly north of the Huai River, in the provinces of Shanhsi and Shenhsi and in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Iron ore deposits would amount to over 12 billion tonnes (valuation prior to 1949: 3 billion) concentrated around Anshan, Hupei, Inner Mongolia and Szuch’uan. Oil fields reportedly found in Hsinchiang, Kansu, Ch ‘ inghai, Szuch’uan. The deposits of non-ferrous minerals are very rich, especially molybdenum and tin.

According to PARADISDACHAT.COM, there is a considerable increase in coal production, resulting from the exploitation of a large number of mining districts, of which there are 31 producing over one million tonnes. Total production from 68.5 million tonnes in 1949 increased to 128.5 million in 1957 and 270 million in 1958; the main mines are those of Kailan (9.6 million), Fushun (11 million) and Fusin (11 million) in Manchuria, in operation for some time, and those recently opened in Huainan (6.8) in northern Anhuei., and to Tatung (6,3) in the northern Shanhsi. On the other hand, oil extraction is still modest (3.7 million tons in 1959, including the synthetic one, obtained from coal in Fushun in Manchuria) and derives mainly from the Yümen wells in Kansu. China maintains the primacy for volframio and has a considerable production of tungsten, antimony, molybdenum, tin. The production of electricity is showing a sharp increase, passing from 7.2 billion kWh in 1949 to 27.5 billion in 1958 and 41.5 billion in 1959 (of which about three quarters produced by coal, the rest by water plants, the main one is the one on F. Sungari upstream of Chilin; on F. Giallo the Sanmenhsia and Liuchia power stations are under construction). Even the production of steel has advanced greatly, having gone from 1.3 million tons in 1949 to 8.3 million in 1958 and 13.3 in 1959, with main production centers. in Manchuria (Anshan).

Industries. – In the past, the plants were poorly distributed and the main industries had developed on the initiative of foreign capitalists. Thus one third of all Chinese light industry (precision machines, electrical machines, textiles, motors, etc.) was based in Shanghai; Mukden and T’ienchin had also seen many plants being built. In Manchuria and in the coastal cities (Canton, etc.) there was 80% of the metallurgical industry, 90% of the textile industry, while only 8% was located in Szuch’uan.

The five-year plan (1953-7) provided for the creation of new industrial regions in the internal provinces; the workshops have been created above all in places where raw materials (cotton, coal, etc.) are plentiful or where there are important consumer markets, in order to have a more balanced distribution. However, the money was not always spent on the plants (in fact, we cite the case of many sumptuous buildings built for offices, which accommodate an excessively numerous staff) and in many cases the production (for example of cast iron) was of quality mediocre. Since January 20, 1956, the workshops and commercial enterprises have constituted mixed properties, in which private individuals are associated with the state; and since then there has been a tendency to group industries into ever more efficient organisms. Private trade is now also controlled by the state. Of course, in some cases, industrial development harms the interests of farmers (since machines replace human labor) and artisans. Nonetheless, the latter are still numerous: in the second half of 1958, during the “battle for steel”, a large number of small workshops produced 3.1 million tons. For heavy industries, which will be strengthened more and more, the main production center is around Anshan in Liaoning, where an industrial district has been formed in which chemical, textile and food products factories have also developed. A new shipyard has been built in Lüta (near Dairen). The first Chinese-made automobile was produced in Ch’angch’un (1956). For the production of steel, two new centers are located in Wuhan (Hank’ou) in Hupei (which uses iron from the Tayeh mines) and in Paot’ou in Inner Mongolia (at the Paiyünpo mines). A power plant is being built at Chungch’ing, which will create a large cement factory (total production 11 million tons in 1958) and a fertilizer factory (especially ammonium sulphate and nitrate). Three large sugar factories have sprung up in Szuch’uan (prod. 1958: 900 thousand t). Turks and Kashgar also saw their craft industries revitalize. For the textile industry, the largest plants are located within the Shanghai-Nanjing-Hangchou triangle, but the Chinese try to relocate the textile plants near the cotton, to avoid expensive transport.

China Industries and Mining Between 1949 and 1958