Geologists in China have said they’ve found gold reserves in a northwestern province that could be worth $32 billion to the country’s economy. The discovery was made in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the country’s state-run Xinhua News Agency reported earlier this week The gold deposit in Xinyuan County in the Ili Valley is estimated to contain at least 53 tons, Zeng Xiaogang, head of the region’s geology and mineral resources bureau, said. The gold-bearing region reportedly stretches for almost 2 miles at depths of 200-1,000 feet. It is also estimated to hold 31,000 tons of copper, Zeng said. A mining group has spent 5 years and $24 million to find the reserves, which it hopes to begin mining by the end of 2015, he said. It is the second large gold reserve discovered in the Ili Valley; one containing 50 tons was found in 1988, Zeng said. According to the bureau, the mine is the largest such resource found in the area of Xinjiang’s western Tianshan Mountains. The zone is within the Narat-Hongliu River metallogenic belt, together with gold mines in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, indicating further ores are likely to be found in the belt.