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Russia Could Gain A Stranglehold On This Market

Russia Could Gain A Stranglehold On This Market

I discussed last year how Russia is making big moves in African mining. And late last week we got confirmation the pariah nation is moving fast to control a number of key commodities here.

That's in Zimbabwe. Where Russian officials told local press they're proceeding quickly with one of the biggest mineral developments on the continent.

Russian Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Georgy Kalamanov said live from Harare that a new $3 billion platinum complex is going "according to schedule." With the Deputy Minister noting that Phase I of the project--which includes mines and processing facilities--is just "a first step" for Russia. Related: Depressed Coal Markets Could Get Worse

Toward that end, he unveiled plans for Phase II of the platinum development. Which he said will commence in March 2016, and include two new underground mines and a second processing plant.

This news comes just over a year since Russia initially announced the Zimbabwe project. Suggesting that design and construction has moved very rapidly -- showing just how eager Russia is to cement influence in the mining sector here. Related: VW’s Dieselgate Scandal Could Cost Up To $87 Billion In Total

The implications are far-reaching for global markets. Russia domestically controls 30 percent of global platinum and palladium output. And Zimbabwe's mines represent the world's fourth-leading source of these metals -- meaning that Russian control in the African nation could create a stranglehold on this market. Related: Is The Oil And Gas Fire Sale About To Start?

And the emerging reports suggest Russia won't stop at platinum. With Zimbabwe press noting that Russian officials are also pursuing projects in gold and diamonds. Gazprom has even reportedly expressed interest in developing coal-seam natural gas in the country.

This is a critical development for metals, getting almost no press globally. What happens here could change the worldwide platinum market -- and the changes are coming very quickly.

Here's to keeping an eye out,

Dave Forest

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