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Silk Road: new incentives for the mining sector

How are the Chinese development strategy and the Russian minerals related?

The Institute of Economics and Industrial Engineering of the SB RAS publishes, from 1970, the "ECO" magazine, a well-known and recognized in the scientific world publication. Several issues of this journal in recent years have been devoted entirely to the development of the Far East. On the eve of the Eastern Economic Forum, the IEIOPE SB RAS decided to compile the best publications on these topics in the book. Readers of IA Eastrussia have a unique opportunity to get acquainted with some texts even before it leaves the press - within the framework of the joint project "ECO - Far East". The authors of the article are Natalya Lomakina, Doctor of Economics, Institute of Economic Research, FEB RAS (Khabarovsk)

Silk Road: new incentives for the mining sector

Priority of China's state policy in the sphere of international cooperation is the stimulation of the strategy of "going abroad" in the spheres of equipment, technologies, services, etc. Key areas of such cooperation are ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, production of building materials, construction of railways, electric power, chemical industry and others.

The idea of ​​a major multi-country cooperation project "The New Silk Road" (with further modifications), announced in China by 2013, already today is embodied both in major international decisions (on the formation of financial sources for this megaproject, for example) and in individual intercountry projects. Although studies and discussions are still conducted about its necessity, influence and reality. The concept of the economic belt of the Silk Road is "it is not only and not so much a transport project as a project of co-development of the countries of the region." At the same time, a significant group of countries whose interests are affected by this concept are rich in natural resources, including such important ones as oil, gas, rare earth, non-ferrous metals.
"The main objects of primary investment (from the side of states and specialized institutions - the Asian Bank for Infrastructure Investments, the Silk Road Development Fund, the Eurasian Development Bank, etc.) will be infrastructure, construction and the resource-extracting industry." The need to deepen cooperation in the exploration and production of coal, oil and gas, metals, mineral resources and other traditional minerals has also been identified as a priority in the joint document of the National Development and Reform Commission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Commerce of China explaining practical tasks and mechanisms Megaproject "Economic belt of the Silk Road".
Undoubtedly, the impact of the implementation of the project "Economic belt of the Silk Road" on the development of the mineral sector of this large macroregion, on the scale and direction of international cooperation in this sector of the economy can be significant and at the same time multidirectional (for various participants in these processes). What exactly does not cause controversy is the positive stimulating effect on the "revitalization" in the mineral sector (and not only in the countries along the Silk Road) in connection with the implementation of the transport component of the project. So, to build only a small "piece" of the New Silk Road - the Moscow-Kazan high-speed highway (770 km), it will take 265 thousand tons of metal structures, 2,125 million cubic meters of prefabricated reinforced concrete, 348 thousand cubic meters of bridge reinforced concrete structures, over 1,439 thousand. Km of cable. And this is not all areas for the participation of the mineral and raw materials complex.
However, as the analysis of the various state documents of China, which are associated with the concept of the "Economic belt of the Silk Road" and which are, in fact, the mechanisms for its implementation, changes in the mineral sector of the economy, in the scale and directions of cooperation in it, can be very significant.
China is among the countries with the lowest level of supply of natural resources per capita, while the demand for them in China is constantly growing. According to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, "presumably in the period from 2025 year on 2040 year the demand for resources will grow moderately, rather than rapidly, as today, but nevertheless it will be higher compared to the current level. For example, the demand for raw materials, such as steel, aluminum, copper, will reach 2025, 700 and 15 million tons, respectively, by 7; Will grow in comparison with 2008 year on 40%, 45 and 70% ". Today's changes in the rates of economic growth will, of course, make adjustments to the growth rate of China's needs for mineral resources. But, in addition to quantitative assessments, when predicting the directions and scale of cooperation in the mineral sector of the economy, one can not ignore the expected qualitative changes in the structure of the demand for the Chinese economy.
As the analysis of some documents related to the long-term forecast of China's scientific and technological development shows, in the field of prospects for the use of mineral raw materials, the following three-pronged task emerges:
- Firstly, the dependence of the Chinese economy on imports of basic mineral resources is reduced due to significant breakthroughs and advances in technologies and equipment for exploration and mining in its own territory;
- secondly, the cyclical nature of the use of mineral raw materials, which means a decrease in the absolute volume of use of primary resources;
- Thirdly, the fundamental replacement of many types of minerals due to the transition to high technology and a qualitatively different structure of needs in mineral resources.
Thus, in the exploration of minerals lying at great depth, a breakthrough is planned for 2020 in the field of highly effective and high-precision methods of reconnaissance, providing detection of anomalies at a depth of 2 thousand meters, in East China, to 2030 in Western China; 2050 expects the development of exploration methods that provide detection of anomalies at a depth of 3-4 thousand meters. In the sphere of development of highly efficient and environmentally friendly mining and processing technologies (including complex and low-grade ores), by 2020 it is planned to reduce energy consumption per unit of production by 20% (to 2030%, 30%, 2050% to 50) ; Contamination - by 30% (by 50% and by 80%); The growth rate of production will reach 50% (to 2030 year - 70% and to 2050 year - 80%); Level of recycling - 45% (60% and 80%). By 2020, the level of replacement of major minerals and processing of their waste is expected to be at the level of 20-40%, 2030-30% for 50, 2050-40% for 60.
It is assumed that by 2020 the coefficient of dependence on foreign trade and raw materials will be less than 10%, the level of use of new high-performance materials is 60%. It is expected that by 2030, China will become the world leader in the production of basic raw materials, will achieve self-sufficiency, the level of use of new high-performance materials will reach 90%, and by 2050 the level of self-sufficiency will correspond to the level of the country's demand for highly efficient new materials.
Such approaches will undoubtedly change not only the scale, but also the directions of China's cooperation with other countries and regions in the mineral sector of the economy. One such change is the "shift of interest" from basic types of mineral raw materials to high-tech ones, which provides the formation of new industries for new technological structures. As for the Far East of Russia, this region is well provided not only with many types of "basic" minerals, but also by a number of those that provide the scientific and technological revolution. The Far East of Russia has a high resource potential of rare, including rare-earth elements, which must be studied and created to create favorable investment conditions for the extraction and processing of their ores.
So, in the Magadan region, a number of objects with high concentrations of rare-earth and radioactive elements are known (the Arangas, Bruz, Sadnoe, White Night deposits). They may well, according to the experts of the SVKNII FEB RAS, become a base for a new mining industry and can be involved in operation by the year 2050. Kuril island arc and partly about. Sakhalin, according to the IMGG specialists, FEB RAS, on the content of rhenium in various rock complexes have no analogues not only in the Far East, but also in the Asia-Pacific region. In connection with the construction of the railway to the Elginsky coal deposit, the rare-metal field Arbarastakh in Yakutia becomes accessible. Complex development of copper-nickel (with platinum and gold), apatite-titanomagnetite and apatite-rutile ores of the Dzhugdzhuro-Stanovoi belt with rare-earth-rare-earth, beryllium and uranium deposits of the Ulkan trough (Khabarovsk Territory) is quite promising. On the scale of mineralization, these territories can take a worthy place among a number of known world standards (like the platinum belt Stillwater in Canada or the Kursk magnetic anomaly in the south of Russia).
The concentration of financial and material resources for research, exploration and design work on the assessment and inclusion in the mineral resource base of potential resources of rare and rare-earth elements can provide for 2050 the formation of new sub-sectors in the Far East, including for the development of high-tech industries .

Along with the structural changes in the needs of the Chinese economy in mineral resources, significant changes are also taking place for the policy of "going abroad." One of the key documents defining new tasks is the State Council Directive of the People's Republic of China on 16 May 2015 "Guidelines of the State Council on Promoting Cooperation with Foreign Countries in the Field of Production Capacities and Production of Equipment." In the document, the stimulation of the strategy of "going abroad" in the spheres of equipment, technologies, services, etc., was outlined as a priority direction of China's state policy in the sphere of international cooperation. Key areas of such cooperation are a number of industrial sectors, primarily ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, construction materials production, construction of railways, electric power industry, chemical industry and others.
At the level of enterprises and companies, in order to realize financial and technical advantages, tasks have been set, along with the continuous development of traditional forms, to develop new models of cooperation, such as "building contract (construction contract) plus financing", "construction contract (building contract ) Plus financing and operation. " Undoubtedly, this document changes the emphasis of cooperation in the raw materials sphere, including in the mineral and raw materials complex. If earlier China went to mineral-rich countries and regions exclusively for raw materials, now it brings its technology and equipment (and, if possible, labor resources) to resource projects.
Examples of such cooperation between Russian and Chinese companies in the mineral sector of the Far East already exist: these are elements of technological cooperation (for example, the supply of part of the equipment for autoclave processes to the companies Polymetal and Petropavlovsk from China), and the direct participation of Chinese companies in the development of mineral resources In a variety of forms. Some illustration of the change in time of certain accents of the Chinese policy of "going abroad" in the resource sphere can be considered the project of forming the Priamursky mining and metallurgical cluster and, in particular, the construction of the Kimkano-Sutarsky GOK in the Jewish Autonomous Region. The genesis of the development of the project and the fixing of its individual stages clearly enough show that the interests of China's participation in it have already gone beyond just supplying their economy with raw materials.
 At the stage of project formation (the end of the 1990-x - the beginning of the 2000-ies), Petropavlovsk positioned it as a project-leader of the "second industrialization" of the Far East with plans for the construction of a modern metallurgical plant, whose consumers of final products may include Chinese companies. The construction of the GOK began in 2007, roads, dormitories, auxiliary facilities were created, and a quarry was started. The contract for the design and construction of a turnkey concentrator was concluded at the end of 2010 with the Chinese company China National Electric Engineering Corporation (CNEEC), which has the necessary experience of building industrial enterprises of this scale. At the stage of construction of the Kimkano-Sutarsky GOK, there was a need to attract "outside" investments, and they became Chinese. The terms of attracting investments included the participation of Chinese companies in ownership (their investments of $ 238 million were invested in the development of IRC - the iron ore subsidiary of Petropavlovsk through subscription to new shares) and the obligation to supply future products to China (long-term supply agreement for 15 Years of production of Kimkano-Sutarsky, Garinsky and other future projects). In August 2015, IRC, the only iron ore producer in the Russian Far East, launched the first stage of the Kimkano-Sutarsky GOK. By this time, the share of the gold-mining alliance Petropavlovsk in IRC was 35,83% (by the beginning of the transaction in 2013 - 63,1%), the Chinese company General Nice Development Ltd belongs to 23,2%.
Part of the equipment used in the technological process at the Kimkano-Sutarsky GOK is supplied from China. So, among the reasons that delayed the start-up period of the plant in 2014, the impossibility of supplying equipment from China in connection with the 2013 flood and the flooding of checkpoints was named. On the construction of the Kimkano-Sutarsky GOK, about half of the employed (according to various estimates) are Chinese workers. Thus, the example of the implementation of the project for the development of iron ore resources in the Far East demonstrates a change in the mechanisms (in varying degrees of their use) of the participation of Chinese companies. As a matter of fact, new models of cooperation recommended by the State Council directive of the PRC, such as "building contract (construction contract) plus financing and operation", in the case of the development of iron ore deposits in the EAO are already undergoing "approbation".
If we evaluate the conditions for entering the mineral sector as a whole, then the ideal Chinese people consider this scheme: "they get assets in full ownership, or possession of at least 51%; Ensuring the rights to full (or at least 50% export of raw materials for further processing on-site, the acquisition of Russian-Chinese enterprises by attracting Chinese labor, the use of Chinese mining equipment and equipment in the process of extraction. "The above mentioned State Council Directive from 16 May 2015 year is mandatory for all levels of government, "this document is sent to the people's governments of provinces, autonomous regions, cities of central subordination, all ministries and committees of the State Council of China and mediocre and supervision of institutions. "According to him built today international cooperation policies, including in the mining sector.
The New Silk Road project is a kind of targeted “cloud” assembled from “puzzles” of new tasks and cooperation mechanisms, including in the resource sector. Of course, the Silk Road is also a way for resources, but: for “other” resources (“China 2.0”); through the implementation of other targeted mechanisms of the policy of “going abroad” (for example, through the creation of production zones in other countries).
Thus, as regards the "fan" of the mechanisms of cooperation used, the objectives of implementing the Chinese policy of "going abroad" in the mining sector, they are substantially changing. The key tasks are the export of Chinese technologies and equipment for geological exploration and mining, creating on this basis production capacities and zones abroad. Examples of such approaches can already be observed in the mineral sector of the Russian Far East.

(magazine "ECO", No. 7 for 2016; abridged version)

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