Kunming is located in east-central Yunnan province. It is located between north latitude 24°23′ and 26°22′ N, and east longitude 102°10′ and 103°40′ E, with a total area of 21,600 square kilometres (8,340 square miles). Its widest stretch from the east to the west amounts to 140 kilometres (87 miles) and its largest expansion from the north to the south amounts to 220 kilometres (137 miles).
Located at an elevation of 1,890 metres (6,200 feet) on the Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau with low latitude and high elevation, Kunming has one of the mildest climates in China, characterised by short, cool dry winters with mild days and crisp nights, and long, warm and humid summers, but much cooler than the lowlands. The weather never gets very hot in summer; the temperature has exceeded 30°C (86°F) only on a handful of occasions. However, freak snowfalls occur in occasional winters.
Mineral resources include phosphorus, salt, magnesium, titanium, coal, quartz sand, clay, silica, copper. Phosphorus and salt mines are the most plentiful. Kunyang Phosphorus Mine is one of the three major phosphorus mines in the country. Rock salt reserves are 1.222 billion tonnes (1.203 billion long tons; 1.347 billion short tons) and mirabilite reserves are 1.908 billion tonnes (1.878 billion long tons; 2.103 billion short tons). Dongchuan is a major copper production base.
Proven reserves of Coal bed gas is about 500 billion cubic metres (18,000 billion cubic feet), equal to 720 million tonnes (710 million long tons; 790 million short tons) of standard coal. Geothermal resources are widely distributed.
Of the more than five million people registered as residents in Kunming in 2006, around four million are Han. The Yi people are the most prominent minority in the city, with more than 400,000 residents. The least-represented ethnic minority in Kunming were the 75 Dulong people living in the city.
Kunming has three economic advantages over other cities in southwest China: significant natural resources, a large consumer market and a mild climate. Due to its position at the center of Yunnan, one of China’s largest producers of agricultural products, minerals and hydroelectricity, Kunming is the main commercial hub for most of the province’s resources.
Kunming’s chief industries are copper, lead and zinc production. Its iron and steel industry has been expanded. Salt and phosphate mines around Kunming are some of the largest in China. Yunnan Copper Company Limited, based in Kunming, is one of Yunnan’s largest mining corporations. From the late 1970s, Kunming’s main industries also came to include food and tobacco processing and the manufacture of construction equipment and machines.