Critical Raw Materials: China’s Influence Is Growing

by | 24. Aug 2023 - 14:11 | Economy

New study sees Africa and Latin America as preferred targets for Chinese companies.

China is quietly expanding its influence in the critical minerals sector, a new report by S&P Global concludes. Companies in upstream and downstream sectors, from mining to end-product manufacturing, were investing heavily abroad. Emerging markets in particular are moving into focus. This applies, for example, to Argentina, which is a preferred target for Chinese investments due to its large lithium deposits. The country lacks the financial resources to mine the battery metal, but at the same time mining has a long tradition in the relevant regions and the necessary infrastructure is in place. S&P Global speaks of investments of at least three billion US dollars planned by Chinese companies in these regions over the next three years.

What applies to lithium also applies to rare earths: While China accounts for 91 percent of the processing and 94 percent of rare earth magnets, its share of mining is 60 percent. China has been the largest importer of rare earths for years and secures access to this group of raw materials not only in neighboring Myanmar but also through stakes in projects in Africa and mining companies such as MP Materials that specialize in rare earths.

Photo: iStock/jasonbennee

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