China Continues World-Wide Minerals Grab

Posted on March 12, 2011

While the world has gone about its business, in recent decades China has been considering areas in the world to satisfy its desire to corner the market on minerals that are referred to as “rare earth.”  To this end, they have been into exploration of Africa, Madagascar, North Korea, Tibet and elsewhere.

Tibet has been of increasing value to China over the past few decades.  Having built a modern rail system between the two countries, it has now been revealed that China will be developing rich non-ferrous mineral deposits there including copper, zinc, gold and lithium.  The estimated value of these discoveries, $100 billion. [Indian Express].

In North Korea, China has recently signed an agreement to develop what South Korean analysts estimate at $6.3 trillion.

Under the agreement the two communist nations will open a Hong Kong-based firm to seek investment from private Chinese companies, the source was quoted as saying. As well as being North Korea’s sole major ally, China is its biggest trade partner and has been actively exploring investment opportunities in the neighbouring country, sometimes gaining strategic benefits.

Pyongyang’s dependence on Beijing has grown amid a nuclear stand-off with the United States and its allies, and China reportedly gained rights in 2008 to use a pier at the northeastern port of Rason, securing access to the Sea of Japan (East Sea). [The Independent]

And the island nation of Madagascar home to one of the worlds largest diversity of species including 200 lemur types, is rich in minerals such as vardium that is needed in the manufacture of large batteries as well as other major items such as steel.

Industry analysts predict we’re facing a potential shortage of vanadium based on steel usage alone as early as 2013, driven by the incredible consumption of steel by China and India.

Here, too, as in other areas of the world, the Canadians and the Chinese are active, Canada’s Energizer Corp. is in production, China is in talks with the government:

Projections from analysts are that vanadium consumption for batteries could be as much as 25% of total production within three to five years. A year ago you had to Google vanadium, and now people are reading about how it’s impacting the world.”Consumption will be driven by two innovations: the lithium-vanadium-phosphate car battery and the vanadium redox flow battery for large-scale energy storage. Adding vanadium to lithium-ion batteries makes them cooler and safer, more powerful and longer lasting. This means electric cars with greater range and fewer rechargings. Vanadium redox flow batteries ameliorate a profound difficulty with solar and wind power. To put it bluntly, they’re not much good when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. []

The list is endless of places they are about to bring online and ones only dreamed about but planned for.