Natural Resources in China : Feeding the economic growth of China
Through our seminar series, our group has heard from a series of speakers about China and its natural resource and energy industries. Hearing them speak about China's coal industry, it's move into petroleum, its clean tech solar PV industry and reading about the continuing debate about rare earths, as students at Sloan it is amazing how we can delve so deeply into such a unique subject. We have talked with international mineral rights negotiation experts, experts on Mongolian business, academics from China and Mongolia, and US State department staff posted at the embassy in Beijing, China.
What is so fascinating with all this is realizing the sheer size of resources required by China. Edward Cunningham, an expert on Chinese coal developments, presented to us the Chinese coal industry. From small community mines to large industrial complexes with over 10,000 workers, China mines the world's second largest coal deposits. Only the US surpasses China in available deposits. On the other hand it is amazing to think that China has been using its coal resources since long before either Europe or the US discovered that coal could be used as fuel. It has been both a blessing and a bane. With coal and its easy energy, China has been able to bring power and energy to its people and its industries, enabling its strong growth in manufacturing and production. It has also brought about air pollution in the form of particulate matter, smog and soot. Just like when England was rapidly growing during the Industrial Revolution and London's pea soup fog was a price to pay, so is China today paying a price for using coal as its dominant form of energy production.
It is exciting to think how we will be able to meet on our trip, major players who influence China's energy infrastructure. We will meet with CMEC, one of China's main engineering and construction firms that build power plants, officials at the US Department of Energy, Vestas, a multinational wind energy group and many more. With this study tour, we will be on our way to better understand the energy situation in China and how it influences the rest of the world.