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Vol 2 (AAC) No 10

Published 1st August 2009


The race for strategic minerals

Africa's mineral reserves are drawing interest from Asian and Western states determined to secure supplies and counter wild price fluctuations

Strategic minerals are back in fashion and - along with oil and gas - at the centre of geopolitical rivalries between industrial economies in Asia and the West. New technologies have failed to free modern economies from their dependence on base metals and rare minerals: for example, fibre-optics are replacing copper cables, but demand for the associated cobalt for superalloys used in jet engines and gas turbines is growing fast. Competition is increasing over price and secure supplies between Asia's super economies - China, India and Japan - and with Western economies.

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