In what may become the most expensive diversified minerals takeover to-date, China and Brazil appear set to engage in a strategic battle over copper deposits in Africa, according to Bloomberg. In line with China’s recent efforts to enlarge its footprint in Africa in its quest for natural resources, China’s Jinchuan Group is considering countering Rio de Janeiro-based Vale’s bid for South African company Metorex, which owns copper and cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.
The news comes as no surprise as both China and Brazil are known to have what one analyst calls “voracious appetites” for mining. It does, however, beg the question how the United States fits into the looming global showdown over strategic mineral resources. While the U.S. is only now beginning the overdue reassessment of its own mineral policies, resource-hungry nations like China and Brazil are already off to the races. It is time for U.S. policy makers to recognize this dangerous strategic disadvantage, and to act accordingly.