[Mining Indaba] China, India and Japan court Africa at the mining table – by Lee Mwiti (Mail & Guardian – February 10, 2016)

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This year’s Mining Indaba has been cast as taking place under a pall, but not too much has changed, at least not from the perspective of China, cited for much of the turmoil in the global mining industry.

Chinese government officials here in this South African port city gave away little about the Asian giant’s thoughts about its central role in the turbulence, instead focusing on what they said would be better times ahead in what is a highly-cyclical industry.

Zhao Caisheng, a division director at China’s national land and resources ministry, forecast a strong outlook for mining, on the back of developed economies re-industrialising and increasing spending on capital projects, and emerging economies accelerating the industrialisation push.

“China is entering a ‘New Normal’ of high-end medium-speed growth,” Zhao said, referring to the country’s rebalancing towards a more consumption and services-heavy economy. China’s growth has been steady at 7%, he added, and the Asian country contributes as much as 30% to current global growth rates.

It is a business-as-usual approach by Beijing that was visible at its summit with African leaders in Johannesburg in December, and that seeks to reassure the continent’s mineral exporters that the turbulence has just been a bump in the road of their long-haul bilateral billion-dollar partnership.

Since 2011, at the start of Beijing’s now-expiring five-year growth plan, some 350-billion renminbi ($53-billion) has been invested in mining, and total trade volume around the industry has reached more than one trillion renminbi ($152-billion), said the official who is with the department of science, technology and international cooperation.

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