The chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Ma Kai, said it was likely authorities would increase the resource tax rate in the second half of the year to encourage more efficient use of resources, the Beijing Morning Post reported. Ma did not reveal further details on the proposed hike. He also told the newspaper the country would continue to reform pricing mechanisms for oil products, natural gas and coal to achieve a more market-oriented energy price structure. Taxes on fuel and environment pollution would also be imposed at an appropriate time, Ma said. Postscript: The Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation announced July 18 that mineral-resource taxes on copper, lead, zinc and tungsten ores would be raised from August 1. The move is seen as part of wider efforts from Beijing to encourage the efficient use of limited domestic mineral reserves. The tax will rise by between US$0.66 and US$0.93 per metric ton for copper ores, depending on quality; between US$1.30 and US$2.60 per metric ton for lead and zinc ores; and for tungsten ores, between US$0.93 and US$1.19 per metric ton. "The government has always hoped [that] by raising miners' production costs, [it] will urge them to be more efficient," Li Yusheng, an analyst at state-owned metal research firm Antaike Information Development, told the Wall Street Journal.