Op-Ed Commentary: Christoph Unrast
Aug. 17 – Recent developments on the Korean Peninsula indicate that the Peoples Republic of China may be further consolidating their control of the global supply of rare earth elements. Already China has a monopoly in the production of rare earth elements, and could now it could get a hand on North Korea’s resources, which are estimated to be the second largest in the world.
Rare earth elements have been a perennial topic for quite a while. Although the metals are not as rare as the name suggests, China was able to develop a production monopoly since the 90s, replacing the once leading nation of the United States. This issue received its first major attention when Beijing used its monopoly in a diplomatic stand-off with Japan in 2010, cutting of Japans industry from several of the most essential elements used in high-technology products. Continue reading
Aug. 15 – It is expected that the state-owned Aluminium Corp of China Ltd, or Chalco, will drop its takeover bid for Mongolia’s coal-producer SouthGobi Resources Ltd due to fierce resistance from the Mongolian government.
In April of this year, Chalco offered $926 million for a 60 percent stake in SouthGobi. Almost immediately, however, the Mongolian government reacted by introducing a new investment law that limits foreign companies from owning more than 49 percent of companies involved in mining, finance, media and telecommunications sectors. In an even more aggressive stance, the Mongolian government has delayed the renewing of some of SouthGobi’s license, scaring away customers and squashing production. Continue reading
By Ian Bhullar
Jun. 25 – Indian policymakers see China’s state-supported model of acquiring commodities abroad as a barrier to India’s own pursuit, according to an article published in the Business Standard last week.
China’s acquisition of mineral resources is supported with extensive financial and diplomatic infrastructure, including favorable loans from state-owned banks, direct government underwriting, foreign aid and multilateral initiatives like the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. Amongst many deals of this kind, the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation in 2005 bought the former Soviet Union’s largest oil company, Petrokazakhstan; in the same year the Chinese government awarded US$2 billion of loans to Angola in exchange for oil deals. Continue reading
By Gregor Hastings
Mar. 16 – The United States, together with the European Union and Japan, launched an official case with the World Trade Organization (WTO) earlier this week protesting China’s export restrictions on rare earths.
The latest complaint comes after the EU successfully resolved a similar dispute at the WTO in January this year regarding Chinese export restrictions on other industrial materials, including zinc, bauxite and magnesium. Continue reading
Posted in Business, Featured, Foreign Trade, Industry Reports, Markets, Mining
Tagged Barack Obama, China Trade, International Disputes, Rare Earths, U.S.-China Relations, World Trade Organization
Feb. 9 – China dramatically increased its renewable energy production capacity in 2011, tripling output in solar power alone, but environmentalists warn an unwavering reliance on coal to fulfill 70 percent of its energy needs is offsetting the benefits of this new clean development, according to The Guardian.
Last year, China overtook Japan for the first time to become the world’s top importer of coal and, after increasing overall consumption of the resource by 95 million tons over the same time, China is on pace to soon be burning half of the world’s coal. As coal is considered the most damaging source of carbon dioxide emissions, these new statistics have alarmed both environmentalists as well as Chinese government officials, who are already under pressure to curb pollution and environmental degradation. Continue reading
Posted in Business, Energy, Featured, Mining
Tagged Carbon Dioxide, China Coal, China Energy, China Policy, China Renewable Energy, Emissions, Environment, Fossil Fuels
Dec. 26 – Iron ore exports from India to China are declining sharply, according to statistics by the Indian Ports Association. In an attempt to supply the domestic market, China is likely to search for new sources, Indian media reported.
In November, India’s major state-owned ports exported 480 million tons of iron ore, falling 35.4 percent year-on-year. Iron ore shipments through Paradip, one of the largest ports on India’s east coast in Orissa, dropped to 148.6 million tons, down 88.4 percent. Visakhapatnam port’s iron ore exports plunged to 93.3 million tons with a decrease of 35.7 percent. Iron ore exports account for 80-90 percent of India’s export capacity, of which about 70 percent is reportedly exported to China. Continue reading
Nov. 10 – China’s State Council on Wednesday passed a proposal aimed at controlling greenhouse gas emissions – one of the important aspects of China’s 12th Five Year Plan – Xinhua news agency reported.
The approved plan aims to realize a 17 percent decrease in the nation’s per unit CO2 emissions by 2015. The State Council pointed out that China needs to improve its industrial structure, develop low-carbon energy sources, as well as increase forest carbon sequestration. In addition, the State Council urged the establishment of a calculation system for CO2 emissions and the promoting of a low-carbon life style across the country. According to officials with knowledge of the matter, the plan explicitly lists exact targets for CO2 emissions per unit of GDP. Continue reading