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  • War for Africa's mineral wealth

    Are Africa's raw materials the stakes of the world's first major conflict in the 21st century, one between China and the West?

    We see the phenomenon all over Africa: in Niger, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, in Angola and Sudan... China competing heavily with the West for Africa's raw materials.

    While asking this question the following may be interesting background information: a China-Africa mega-summit was held in Beijing in November 2006. Heads of state of 48 out of 53 countries of the African continent and their ministers of Foreign Affairs met with Chinese president and party leader Hu Jin-tao and his staff.
    Main topic of the summit was the expansion of trade between the fastest growing economy in the world (China) and the continent richest in raw materials (Africa). Through this summit China attempted to ensure itself of a steady flow of raw materials needed to fuel and further expand its economy; while Africa in return gets a better infrastructure: railways (NB from Angola to Mozambique, connecting the African West with the East coast), refineries, power plants as well as weapons.
    Additionally, China got even better access to African markets where it can set off its products: light motorcycles, mobile telephone networks, but also cheap stuff it cannot sell anywhere else. Traditionally, China unlike the West, doesn't ask awkward questions about Good Governance like corruption and human rights. This attitude gives China a definite edge in its dealings with African leaders.

    One of the summit's possible deeper implications is that the world has been witnessing the start of the forging of an possible Chinese-African alliance in the 2010s, which eventually may have the same impact as the French-Russian alliance of the 1890's. This alliance also created a new strategic landscape than the one the world was used to.
    Last edited by Colonel Sennef; 29 Mar 10, 15:48.
    BoRG

    You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.

  • #2
    China is doing colonial type stuff in Africa liberals would go utterly beserk about if the British Empire had been doing it but are these days strangely quiet. I think its Uganda where the've ripped off the people via corruption from their government for a mega load of copper for a major knock down price. They bought an entire mountain in Venezuala full of the stuff.

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    • #3
      I cannot see the PRC starting any sort of armed conflict on the African continent.

      It is simply too far away and they don't NEED to do so.

      Australia provides the lions share of her mineral needs now, and unless the PRC intends to STEAL the African minerals she will be paying the world going rate for them.

      Australia is not stupid enough to try and disrupt that trade as it is the very basis of our foreign trade balance and our overall economy.

      Her minerals and food supplies are guaranteed by simple economic reality.


      John.
      The PLO claims ALL of Israel!!! There will and can NEVER be a "2 State solution".

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      • #4
        wa chu wan?

        What? China doesn't have any raw materials within its own borders? It's a HUGE nationality. What doesn't it have that it needs so badly? Has anyone come up with a colonization scenario? China just has way too many people...they need to take a pill


        ARRRR! International Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19th
        IN MARE IN COELO

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ozjohn39 View Post
          I cannot see the PRC starting any sort of armed conflict on the African continent.

          It is simply too far away and they don't NEED to do so.
          I agree with you that I don't think China will start a conflict but they could get involved in one.
          Not just Chinese investments in Africa are growing, but so is its military involvement, as it highly values stability on the African continent in order to safeguard supply of raw materials.

          Beijing has sent 1600 blue helmets to UN missions in Africa, which is more than the four other permanent members of the UN Security Council.
          IMO this serves not just China's image but also as practice for the PLA and as stabilizing factor in Africa, just as the three Chinese frigates that fight piracy off the Somalian coast.
          In my analysis it could just be a beginning of Chinese military involvement in Africa.
          Last edited by Colonel Sennef; 29 Mar 10, 16:19.
          BoRG

          You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.

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          • #6
            Jose,


            Australia has recently signed about 4 multi billion dollar deals for the supply of LNG, in fact about $120 billion so far. They will not be the last.

            China imports HUGE amounts of coal (and iron ore), even though she produces lots of coal herself, she is the world's 2nd largest producer after Australia, yet is our largest customer.

            John.
            The PLO claims ALL of Israel!!! There will and can NEVER be a "2 State solution".

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            • #7
              China has only limited mineral deposits in many strategic categories. In the past, domestic supplies could meet demand. Years of double digit growth however are causing China to look elsewhere (everywhere!) for affordable raw materials. So far they have plenty of WalMart Money to pay for what they need.

              China's empahsis on new naval technology has more to do with the fear they will lose access to foreign suppliers and markets than with the fate of Taiwan.
              Last edited by GCoyote; 30 Mar 10, 09:46. Reason: forgot to look
              Any metaphor will tear if stretched over too much reality.

              Questions about our site? See the FAQ.

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              • #8
                Australia, China and the USA are all in the same boat, they CANNOT do without each other.

                Australia cannot do without our trade with the PRC, she cannot do without our energy and minerals, the USA cannot do without (cheap) Chinese imports, and China cannot do without her sales to Wal Mart.


                Best we learn to get along really well!



                John.
                The PLO claims ALL of Israel!!! There will and can NEVER be a "2 State solution".

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ozjohn39 View Post
                  China imports HUGE amounts of coal (and iron ore), even though she produces lots of coal herself, she is the world's 2nd largest producer after Australia, yet is our largest customer.

                  John.
                  In 2006, China was the top producer of coal with 38% share followed by the USA and India, according to the British Geological Survey.
                  Exporters is another story - Oz is the top exporter of Coal, yes.

                  For a brief precis of coal et al, Wikipedia has some if it.



                  More recent Figures (2008)
                  1. PR China 2761 Mt
                  2. USA 1007 Mt
                  3. India 490 Mt
                  4. Australia 325 Mt
                  5. Russia 247 Mt
                  6. Indonesia 246 Mt
                  7. South Africa 236 Mt
                  8. Kazakhstan 104 Mt
                  9. Poland 84 Mt
                  10. Colombia 79 Mt

                  Source: International Energy Agency 2009

                  The Chinese have been coming to Africa for some years now, and we import some of their labour, so to speak. They are cheap, non unionised, have a great work ethic - one hour lunch is one hour, quarter hour tea is quarter hour, when they work they work hard - but do not really like to invest in their people or the economy if there is nothing for them - great capitalist for sure. In the eighties the Nats offered Taiwanese tax breaks to invest in factories out here which they did (remember we were one of the few to recognise Taiwan, as were the States IIRC) in a policy of decentralisation of the wealth of the country, so in many small rural areas these fellas went in and bulit textile factories and ripped off their employees. To this day they pay less than the minimum wage and the owners all drive luxury German vehicles.

                  They have become one of our biggest trading partners and the conference of 2006 reaffirmed our ties to China. Militarily I see little threat, but they are helping the entire continent grow which is great, and they have the mentality to do it. They may not be the ideal partner, but as long as the dollars roll in, then most people on the continent will be happy.

                  Cope, your comments have value, and they will attempt to get the best bang for their buck that they can - nothing unusual about this practice at all from across the world. Many in Nigeria slam big oil about corruption (and I have to pretty much agree with lots of it), some of our mining houses here have been nailed for it and indeed all over the world. We try to stamp it out wherever it raises its ugly head, but it is not unique to the Chinese.
                  Last edited by MeenMutha; 30 Mar 10, 00:20. Reason: Formatting

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                  • #10
                    And the winner is!!!!

                    Originally posted by GCoyote View Post
                    China has only limited mineral deposits in many strategic categories. In the past, domestic supplies could meet demand. Years of double digit growth however are causing China to elsewhere (everywhere!) for affordable raw materials. So far they have plenty of WalMart Money to pay for what they need.

                    China's empahsis on new naval technology has more to do with the fear they will lose access to foreign suppliers and markets than with the fate of Taiwan.

                    Here it is! China looks waaaaay ahead. Modern technology requires a vast array of rare materials. Africa is loaded with them. Also, most African governments prefer working with the PRC. None of that pesky human rights stuff and such. Maybe the people don't think that way, but they don't have much say.
                    Save America!! Impeach Obama!!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jose50 View Post
                      What? China doesn't have any raw materials within its own borders? It's a HUGE nationality. What doesn't it have that it needs so badly? Has anyone come up with a colonization scenario? China just has way too many people...they need to take a pill


                      Copper. They need oooodles of Copper.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sino Invasion View Post
                        Here it is! China looks waaaaay ahead. Modern technology requires a vast array of rare materials. Africa is loaded with them. Also, most African governments prefer working with the PRC. None of that pesky human rights stuff and such. Maybe the people don't think that way, but they don't have much say.
                        Check out Uganda I think its Uganda due to the PRC doing deals with way corrupt local government big wigs. PRC paid a fraction of the going rate for the stuff. Someone said they're paying the going rate they're not. As Imentioned eartlier China has bought an entire mountain of it in Venezuala. They are not about!!!

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                        • #13
                          I look at this fairly simply. China is a growing world power and this is not suprising. China needs resources and has money to pay for them. Africa has resources and is willing to accept the money. If the West doesn't like it, they can compete for the resources.

                          I understand that this situation may worry those who view national power and prestige as a zero sum game, and who believe that the rise of China necessarily reduces the West. I personally don't view the world that way, however. I suspect this is for another thread though.

                          Now for something slightly out-of-the-box: As I understand it, many African nations (the Africa Group for instance) have been big supporters of the Kyoto and Copenhagen Accords regarding climate change. It seems to me that these nations will lose the right to complain about supposed (i.e. bs - thats for you Doc!) anthropomorphic global warming if it is their resources that are fueling China's noneco-friendly economic expansion. Not that they won't continue to complain about supposed (i.e. bs) AGW anyway, but China might have a greater ability to quiet the protests somewhat.

                          Great idea for a thread.
                          Last edited by The Ibis; 30 Mar 10, 12:18.

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                          • #14
                            NeenMutha,

                            Touche!

                            That will teach me not to rely on this old codgers memory.

                            Though I do feel the main point is still valid, international trade makes us all inter-dependent.



                            John.
                            The PLO claims ALL of Israel!!! There will and can NEVER be a "2 State solution".

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Something else occurred to me. Perhaps China might seek to purchase land rights in African deserts for use as landfills. As these photos on The Guardian's website show, the Chinese are doing an exceptionally poor job in establishing landfills in their own country.

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