Mineral-rich South Africa should expand relationship with China amidst slowed demand

By Dale Benton
Mineral rich regions, particularly those across South Africa, must look at strengthening their relationships with China as the country’s metal demand...

Mineral rich regions, particularly those across South Africa, must look at strengthening their relationships with China as the country’s metal demand continues to cool.

China has long since been a powerhouse in the global metals market, but as the country seeks to realign its focus on the metals industry this has caused a recent downturn for 2018.

For mining markets such as South Africa, now more than ever both mine operators and government should look at expanding their relationship with China in order to enable “more beneficial engagements.”

This is the message coming from Wits University School of Mining Engineering, as a postgraduate and current lecturer released an award-winning paper that examined disruptive technology and innovation in Bangkok, Thailand.

Both authors highlighted the need for South Africa and other developing economies to be better prepared to enter “more beneficial engagements” with China – having become vulnerable to changes in China’s economic growth trajectories.

“The ‘less’ stringent trade terms and conditions, as well as infrastructural development offered by China, have been hailed as the answer to the key economic challenges of many mineral-rich developing countries,” the authors said.

 

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As China continues to ease its dependency on metal imports, South Africa can look at its trade relations as a means to expand its knowledge on how to develop other areas of its economy. Agriculture, science and technology are but a few sectors that South Africa can develop through its relationship with China.

South Africa is redefining its mineral policies, and the paper highlights how the country could use industrial and minerals policies to steer away from being excessively dependent on minerals and other products with fluctuating global prices.

 

“New policy directions can provide buffers that will help the economies of mineral-rich developing countries to handle unexpected global economic changes, as well as the aggressive nature of China’s approach to her trading partners, in preparation for another cycle of China’s economic advancement,” they said.

 

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