MAC/20: Mines and Communities

China Update

Published by MAC on 2007-02-07
Source: MAC Editorial Introduction


China update

7th Feburary 2007

As reported in last week's China update, the country's minerals' manoevres in Africa are being viewed by many with alarm, but by some (especially in government) with strong approval. Perhaps nowhere is this better illustrated than in Zambia.

The major Chinese state-owned company, Minmetals, failed in 2005 ago to buy out Noranda, Canada's oldest mining company (which was later merged with Falconbridge, then snapped up by Xstrata last year).

This hasn't deterred it from seeking several joint venture partners: in South Africa, in Brazil with CVRD, in Chile with Codelco, and with others in Mauritania and Vietnam.

Of perhaps most immediate concern is Minmetals' joint venture with Century Aluminium of Australia - now exploring for bauxite in Jamaica, where it is also considering setting up an alumina refinery. And what are the implications of an agreement it reached with the Bolivian government last year, to promote nonferrous metals resource exploitation?

Just what is China's strategy with regard to reducing its increasing toll of global greenhouse gas emissions, and in particular that from coal? It's contradictory, to say the least - as illustrated by a number of recent statements, claims and analyses.

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