Continuing our informational campaign to highlight the breadth of our nation’s metals and minerals needs, we’re going to drill down into the utilities of and challenges associated with zinc this month.
In its ongoing efforts to satiate its growing appetite for mineral resources, China – long having enlarged its footprint in Africa – has recently expanded its focus to other parts of the world. Latin America is beginning to play a larger role in this context, and while the immediate concern of its Latin American “loans-for-access” strategy appeared to be oil, it is once again the geological distribution of non-fuel mineral resources that has, at least in part, triggered China’s quest in Latin America.
According to a recent piece on SeekingAlpha.com, one of the main drivers in this context is – you guessed it – zinc. Despite having a large landmass, and, according to the most recent USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries, significant deposits of zinc, these deposits appears insufficient to meet China’s growing demand. While the country’s copper shortage is reportedly most severe, zinc supply worries, according to Seeking Alpha’s interviews with Chinese mining investors, may be a close second:
The general conclusion is that many of the world’s largest zinc mines in Australia, Canada and Africa are reaching the end of their useful lives. This fact, coupled with increased demand for zinc emanating from China, and relatively few new zinc mines being developed, has led Chinese investors to seek high-quality junior zinc miners in Peru and in other parts of Latin America.