China's gold consumption will be about 430 tons this year, but accelerating domestic output will reduce its need to import, Sun Zhaoxue, general manager of China National Gold Corp, said Wednesday.
"China's gold production has been gradually increasing and will continue to do so in the coming years, so imports could start to gradually fall," Sun told a conference in the port city of Tianjin.
China imports about 100 tons of gold each year, Sun said. But adding 100 tons of imports to China's output of 313.98 tons last year would mean total supply of about 414 tons.
This year gold output had run consistently ahead of 2009, at least until August, the latest month for which figures are available. In the first eight months of 2010, gold production was up 8.85 percent from the same period of 2009, at 217.953 tons.
China is finding new gold reserves faster than it is producing the precious metal, so there is no danger of the country exhausting supplies, Sun said.
"Gold reserves are outpacing production and there's no way we'll be running out in six years," he said, referring to a March forecast by the World Gold Council that said China's existing gold mines could be exhausted within six years.
China electrified the gold market last year when the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, part of the People's Bank of China, revealed that State reserves had jumped to 1,054 tons since the last such announcement in 2003, when it had 600 tons.
Sun said China should boost its State gold reserves further, echoing the view of many officials who have said China should buy more gold with its foreign exchange reserves, which stood at $2.648 trillion at the end of September.