The business of moving critical minerals around the world can be as important as digging them out of the ground—and Chinese logistics firms are making investments in ports and roads around key mines. Meanwhile, Petrobras’s ambitions, Indonesia’s dream minerals deal and Europe’s stress signals. Plus: a Red Sea hijacking could disrupt Asia supply chains.
ANOTHER POINT OF DEPENDENCY
Digging for ores is step one. Next: transporting them.
Chinese miner MMG Ltd clinched a 1.88 billion USD deal to buy Canada-based Cuprous Capital, which owns the Khoemacau copper mine in Botswana. The transaction marked a successful end to the company’s year-long hunt for copper assets, and MMG shares popped on the news.
And while headlines are often focused on acquisitions of minerals assets, developments in the business of transporting and exporting the minerals warrants attention, too.
Chinese control of infrastructure critical to getting minerals from mining towns to ports for export could represent another source of supply chain vulnerability and dependence, even if Western companies clinch better access to upstream resources.
Take the example of Jiayou International. Last month, the Chinese logistics firm announced (link in Chinese) it was investing in a 76 million USD project to build a dry port in Sakania, on the Zambia-DRC border, as well as a major road, to link copper-cobalt mining towns. The Zambian government has granted Jiayou’s subsidiary, Jaswin Ports Ltd., a 22-year concession for the project, ensuring that company can use the site “without any obstruction.”