China supplies around 70 percent of the world's iron ore demand and 40 percent of its copper demand. In fact, according to a 2016 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Chinese mining companies accounted for 12 of the world's 40 largest companies in the industry. (See also: A Beginner's Guide to Mining Stocks.)

The huge expansion in China's mining capacity and production was largely responsible for the drop in commodities prices over the past decade. In terms of all global metals and minerals demand, China supplies a whopping 40%, and it shows no signs of slowing down. In 2016, when most emerging companies saw an average decline of 22 percent in market capitalization, three new Chinese companies saw notable gains – Sichuan Tianqi (lithium), Tongling (nonferrous metals) and Zhongjin Lingnan (nonferrous metals). (See also: Fundamentals of How China Makes Its Money.)

Take a look at the top players in China's mining industry. Please note that these companies' stocks trade on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (tickers ending in .HK) or the Shanghai Stock Exchange (tickers ending in .SS).

China Shenhua Energy Company Limited (1088.HK)

China Shenhua is an integrated energy company that operates primarily through its coal division. The company operates several coal mines and is involved in the production and transportation of coal and coal products. This is a huge organization with a market cap of $46 billion. It reported revenue of $25.7 billion in 2015, a 30 percent drop from 2014. Net income was $2.55 billion in 2015. The company is now the third largest mining company in the world, up from fifth in 2015. (See also: Top 4 Coal Mining Stocks for 2017.)

China Coal Energy Company Limited (1898.HK)

China Coal Energy operates 12 coal mines. It is the fifth largest coal enterprise in the world based on coal reserves and the second largest in China. In 2015, it reported revenue of $8.56 billion, down 16.1 percent from 2014. Net income was $1.085 billion in 2015. China Coal Energy currently takes the 12th spot in the rankings of the world's 40 largest mining companies, up from 14th in 2015. (See also: Mining Companies Ride the Commodity Price Waves.)

Zijin Mining Group Company Limited (2899.HK)

Zijin Mining Group is principally involved in gold mining and smelting, although it also deals in copper, lead, zinc, silver and even iron products in much smaller quantities. The company has a market cap of $10 billion. Zijin Mining reported net income of $200 million on revenue of $10.1 billion in 2015. Although revenue was up 26 percent in 2015, net income dropped by 29.4 percent. The company is the 13th largest mining company in the world, up from 17th in 2015. (See also: Barrick's Veladero Draws Chinese Bidders.)

China Northern Rare Earth Group High-Tech Co. Ltd. (600111.SS)

China Northern Rare Earth Group, formerly known as the Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare Group, is engaged in producing rare earth metals, oxides and salts (think neodymium, yttrium and lanthanum). It has a market cap of $6.7 billion. In 2015, the company reported revenue of $947 million, up 12 percent from the previous year, and net income of $47.1 million, down nearly 50 percent from the prior year. China Northern Rare Earth Group climbed 23 spots in 2016 to become the 17th largest mining company, up from 40th in 2015. (See also: Forget Gold – Base Metals Are Back.)

Shaanxi Coal Industry Co., Ltd. (601225.SS)

Shaanxi Coal provides coal for electricity generation in Eastern China, Northern China and Middle China. It has a market cap of $8.63 billion and reported revenue in 2015 of $3.72 billion, down 21 percent from 2014. It reported an operating loss of $43 million in 2015 after reporting net income of $137.6 million in 2014. The company made its debut among the top 40 mining companies in 2016, coming in at number 21. (See also: China Bans New Coal-Fired Plants.)

Jiangxi Copper Co. Ltd. (600362.SS)

Jiangxi is China's largest copper producer with reserves in excess of 10 million tons of copper, 9,350 tons of silver and 330 tons of gold, plus various other metals. Jiangxi Copper has a market cap of $8.4 billion. Its 2015 revenue came in at $30.5 billion, with net income of $57.3 million. The company fell to 26th place on the list of the largest mining companies in 2016 from 24th in 2015. (See also: Copper Execs Warn About 'Irrational' Price Rally.)

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