BLUFWithout serious Western government financial and regulatory support, China will likely maintain its absolute dominance in the strategically vital production of critical minerals.
Critical minerals include cobalt, rare earths, tungsten, copper and titanium, which are crucial in the production of jet engines, batteries, mobile phones and electric cars. China dominates supply. Key points:
- The Chinese Government funds state companies to maintain critical minerals dominance e.g., 71% of cobalt.
- The US government allowed a US Company to sell the world’s largest cobalt mine (in the Congo) to China.
- The largest undeveloped deposit has also recently been sold to China.
- Chinese interests now own 15 of the 17 cobalt operations in the Congo.
- Previously the US has used soft diplomacy to protect its interests.
- China has learned from the US in the soft diplomacy stakes.
- Chinese investment in Africa since 2014 has been greater than the US.
- Australia makes up 4% of global cobalt production.
- Austrade is promoting private development of our cobalt reserves, but this is unlikely without government funding.
- China is using vaccine diplomacy in Africa.
- Aug 2021 Reuters Congo reviewing $6 bln mining deal with Chinese investors -finmin
- Sep 2021 the Wilson Centre The DRC Mining Industry: Child Labor and Formalization of Small-Scale Mining
- Sep 2021 Reuters Congo in talks with China's Huayou to end dispute over cobalt mine