WORLD ROUNDUPLifting Sanctions on Venezuela | Seabed Mining & China | Nuclear Weapons and Putin’s ‘Holy War’, and more

Published 28 November 2022

··Seabed Mining Will Help Break China’s Grip on Critical Minerals
Deep-sea mining of critical minerals will challenge China’s dominance

··Nuclear Weapons and Putin’s ‘Holy War’
Russia has never used nuclear weapons in war before

··Governance in Space: Mining the Moon and Beyond
The U.S. is not alone in recognizing the natural resource potential of celestial bodies

··Canada to Boost Defense, Cybersecurity in Indo-Pacific Policy
Canada launched its long-awaited Indo-Pacific strategy

··Trudeau Testifies on Emergency Powers Use Against Canada Trucker Protests
Self-styled “Freedom Convoy” of truckersrejected pandemic restrictions

··Understanding the Turkistan Islamic Party: From Global Jihad to Local Anti-Chinese Resistance
Turkistan Islamic Party is moving away from jihadism - slowly

··Unrest Breaks Out Across China, as Frustration at Lockdowns Grows
No one knows how or when Xi Jinping’s zero-covid policy will end

··President Joe Biden Starts to Lift Sanctions on Venezuela
Partly because of the war in Ukraine, the United States is rethinking its relationship with oil producers

Seabed Mining Will Help Break China’s Grip on Critical Minerals  (Tom LaTourrette, RealClear World)
China dominates global supply chains for nearly all critical mineral resources. Especially important are elements such as nickel, cobalt, lithium, copper, and the rare earths that power decarbonization technologies such as batteries, electric motors, and turbines. The rapidly increasing demand for these  minerals has rekindled interest in extracting polymetallic nodules from the deep seabed.
China controls the supply of these resources through extraction, either within its borders (especially in the case of rare earths) or through ownership of critical foreign mineral resources (for example, cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo). It also dominates mineral processing, controlling the vast majority of global operations. A recent study by S&P Global Inc. found that 11 of the 16 companies that make nickel sulfate are in China. The study projects that China will produce 824 billion metric tons of nickel sulfate per year by 2030, while North America and Europe will produce just 146 billion metric tons.
China’s dominance is the result of a long-term, dedicated effort to secure mineral resources, build extensive processing capacity, and make that capacity available at rates that underbid its competition. This strategy has benefitted from Chinese government support through state-owned-enterprises and financial backing.
Deep seabed polymetallic nodules are potato-sized concretions that lie on the seafloor, some 4000–5500 meters below the ocean surface. These nodules are extremely rich in cobalt, nickel, copper, and manganese, and their extraction is looking increasingly attractive for meeting the projected demand for batteries.
Most polymetallic nodule resources rest in the high seas, outside any country’s exclusive economic zone, where access is regulated by the International Seabed Authority, an organization created by the United Nations in 1994. This has created the opportunity for some 20 countries to sponsor seabed mining exploration contracts. As these contractors’ operations transition from exploration to commercial mining (possibly as soon as 2024), they will rapidly multiply the number of global sources of critical mineral resources.