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The Forum > Article Comments > Can Australia cope with China’s mineral needs > Comments

Can Australia cope with China’s mineral needs : Comments

By Reg Little, published 21/12/2009

Australians are not being educated for a future where Chinese values, culture and authority shape decisions.

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I suspect that Australia will remain an indispensable supplier of minerals to the world. Since minerals at economic concentrations are a finite commodity we should be calling the shots not selling off our natural heritage as cheaply and as fast as possible. Then we will be left with holes in the ground where rich deposits used to be. Perhaps we can fill those holes with the imported and now discarded junk we bought with the proceeds.

Specifically on minerals to China there are several disturbing trends. The jailing of Stern Hu shows the national government may be prepared to use extortion in business dealings. The twelve fold increase in coal imports over last year means Australia is complicit in China's intransigence over emissions. It shows that Rudd is not prepared to back up his rhetoric at Copenhagen. Exports of iron ore from Australia's west coast to a large degree need exports of coking coal from the east coast, not only to China but South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and India. Do promised Copenhagen carbon cutbacks mean that iron ore exports must now decline? China wanted to buy a large stake in Rio Tinto (coal, iron, uranium) and the Mt Weld rare earths deposit while it monopolises the smelting of that metal. It also wanted a foothold in the Olympic Dam province with its bid for Oz Minerals which owned Prominent Hill.

I suspect that China will be miffed about the likely non-go-ahead for the Olympic Dam expansion. I'm not suggesting that like George Bush they will try to take over a key energy supplier. More likely by stealth with increased investment and transfer of management personnel to other key projects. Australia is making a mistake in both political and economic terms if we become too dependent on China for mineral export business and we let them dictate terms.
Posted by Taswegian, Monday, 21 December 2009 8:53:39 AM
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This article is typical of the worldview of a large proportion of Australian bureaucracy and some of the mining heirarchy.In other words,dig up and sell off our resources as quickly as possible for very short term benefit for a very few.

This same cohort dwell in the backsides of Asians and particularly the Chinese.KRudd comes from the same sty.

Apart from the moral corruption which these attitudes make evident these fools have still not come to the realization that China is not the saviour of Australia.China will not be able to save itself given the immense insoluble problems which they face.

Australia is not part of Asia.It never has been and never will be.Australia is a Western nation and would do well to maintain and strengthen that orientation.
Posted by Manorina, Tuesday, 22 December 2009 7:29:48 AM
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It was fun to read Mr.Little's 'the end of Australia', if not 'the end of the world,' stroy. Japanese thought in the two oil shocks of 1970s in fear that Australians would not sell their raw materials. Years later I knew they were fearful that Japanese would stop buying from Australia. Australia economic dependence on China is conversely China's dependence on Australia.
Should a contest of flexing muscles occur, I should think China would have a lillte edge over Ausralia, for China could remain unconcerned about millions of its nationals suffering while Ausralia could not remain so about a single citizen suffering. Howerve, the U.S and the West would rally behind Ausralia. Japan would do the same if only Mr.Hatoyama was not the prime minister and Japan had not gone bankrupt due to its massive accumulation of national debts.
Chinese economy has not only strengthes but weaknesses, too. China had been a self-contained and autarkical civilization until very recently. Its admirable economic success has been made possible through incessant inflow of foreign capital and technology and through its participation of international institutions, which are the making of the U.S and the West.
Its foreing reserves are the biggest. But Chinese nationals are not allowed to have the dollar, which is absorbed by the government as reserves. Japanese are allowed to have the dollar an the euro in their pockets, saves, and as bank deposits. If these are counted, Japan has close to four times as big foreign reserves as China. No Japanes citizens and intstitutions are exchanging their foreign currenciw for the renminbi.
I agree with Mr.Little that there are serious problems in the Anglo-Saxon economic liberalism, which is the survival of only the fittest, but I do not think that the traditional wisdom of Chinese philosophy would lead us out of the present chaos to a better place.
Posted by Michi, Tuesday, 22 December 2009 4:23:49 PM
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China remains the leading executioner in the world.

I am completely aware of China. It does not mean I like to promote China's role anywhere in the world.

I find China deeply disappointing. No part of me wishes to see this kind of government as a world leader. I detest China's role in most forums be it the UN Security Council, the Human Rights Council and on Climate Change. China has the world blackmailed, as if money were the only form of power?

Harmonious Society, promoting 'One World', my foot. China as host to the 2008 Olympics was only a catalyst for ongoing Human Rights Abuses. Least we all saw the style and stoop of this government authority. George Orwell described in "1984" a world we are living in today, ..... I too feel as chill as China's shadow grows. I do not trust China.

China enforces deep repression of minority groups, be they Tibetans, Uighurs, Mongolians. The Falun Gong practitioners or Christians who practice their own cultural brand of religion outside state sanctioned guidelines continues.

Without charge or trial some 500,000 people are currently in punitive detention. Millions are unable to access the legal system, to seek redress for their grievances.

I want every Chinese citizen to read George Orwell 1984. Until they do there may be no feasible way to find a measure of trust with their lack of transparency ... nor understanding of why we demand openness and transparency from China.
Posted by miacat, Friday, 25 December 2009 12:47:57 PM
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