BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) -- China aims to expand its economy by over 6 percent in 2021, building on strong tailwind from success in containing COVID-19, as lawmakers gather in Beijing to map out priorities for high-quality development.

China will contain its annual coal output to around 4.1 billion metric tons and limit the commodity's use to 4.2 billion tons by the end of the 14th Five-Year-Plan period (2021-2025), a leading industry association said.

To regulate the industry of rare earths or not to regulate it, that is indeed an important question. For, as Xiao Yaqing, minister of Industry and Information Technology, said at a news conference on Monday, the country's rare earths are being sold at too low a price in the international market, which is a waste of these valuable resources.

China is likely to include shale oil exploration and development during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25) to cut its reliance on costly imports and bolster energy security, experts said.

Speakers at a recent shale oil exploration and development promotion conference held by the National Energy Administration indicated that the government was keen to include shale oil exploration in the top-level policy blueprint that plots the country's path based on a set of developmental goals.

China will come out with an action plan soon to further reduce the carbon footprint of the steel industry in the country, a top industry association said on Wednesday.

According to the China Iron and Steel Association, the move came after the country vowed to peak its carbon emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, as part of wide-ranging environmental protection efforts that envisage carbon reductions in industries like cement.

China will reinforce the protection of its rare earth resources, strengthen full industrial chain regulation and establish a mechanism under the State Council to decide and coordinate on major policy measures, according to a draft guideline published on Friday.

BEIJING - Seven of China's major coal-producing groups have called on the sector to boost supply and keep prices within a reasonable range, as increasing domestic demand fuels rising pressure in the spot market.

In a joint initiative by the national coal association as well as the coal transportation and distribution association, the seven energy suppliers stressed the need to ink medium and long-term contracts at an early date in 2021, which could serve as a prop for price stability.

Significant results in exploration, coal bed extraction

China has made progress in increasing domestic oil and gas production over the past five years, while the country vows to continuously step up construction of storage facilities and accelerate building trunk oil and gas pipelines to further ensure domestic energy security.

Experts urge efforts to increase reserves, diversify imports to improve overall mix

China should further enhance its energy security by increasing exploration and exploitation of upstream resources and by reducing reliance on external sources for energy, domestic industry insiders said.

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