China to get rid of small gold mining companies

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) is drafting new standards for the gold industry which will raise the entry barriers, and companies with daily gold processing capacity of less than 50 tons will have to exit the industry, the Shanghai Securities News said on Tuesday.

Local governments, Reuters reports, have already received the order to shut small gold miners down.  The industry ministry is planning to go further, by closing mines with a daily gold processing capacity of below 100 tonnes and halting approvals for small ore processing companies.

In addition, large gold miners will be encouraged to expand overseas in order to increase resource supplies.

China, the world's largest bullion producer, currently has no limits on gold production and production is determined by the gold producers, adds the report.

The record-high prices over the past two years has encouraged miners to boost gold output at all costs, including dubious practices that have heavily polluted rivers and soil and, according to Reuters, caused cancer-related deaths to soar in some areas.