South Africa’s chamber of mines officially filed suit this week to block the country’s challenging new mining charter. But elsewhere in the world, some of the biggest investors in natural resources are ramping up their financial commitments — to a new target region for mining and energy deals.
Specifically, Brazil. Where government officials announced that a major new infrastructure fund backed by China will begin accepting investment proposals this week.
The $20 billion fund was unveiled late last year. With Chinese backers committing $15 billion of the total funds, and the balance provided by Brazilian and international banks.
The focus is infrastructure to speed resource development across Brazil. With officials saying the fund will focus on rail projects, particularly those that link agricultural regions for crops like soy and corn to ports — where these commodities can be shipped abroad.
The move confirms a trend that’s been crystallizing over the last year: a big move by China into the resource sector of South America. Coming on the heels of major mining deals for Chinese firms in places like Argentina.
Those deals have expanded China’s resource influence on the continent — moving outside of initial Chinese investment destinations like Peru and Ecuador. Showing that big investors like what they see in this part of the world, and are pursuing more growth opportunities here.
Brazil however, has been notably absent from Chinese plans up until recently. With even the high-impact oil sector here seeing few Chinese companies involved in projects.
That now appears to be changing — given a slew of projects proposed by Chinese entities in Brazil over the past year. Including a $10 billion “dollars for oil” loan between China Development Bank and Petrobras.
The new $20 billion fund will accelerate China’s influence in Brazil. And could be beneficial to resource projects here — which can piggyback off new rail and other infrastructure to move supplies of minerals, petroleum and agricultural goods to market. Watch for specific projects approved for development by the fund.
Here’s to seeding new ground.
By Dave Forest
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