Auquan’s Daily Wrap | 7th March: What you might have missed

U.S. Solar Imports from China Grow Amid Forced Labour Concerns

The U.S. continues to struggle to wean itself from Chinese solar power, with imports from China growing to help alleviate gridlock. This trend is occurring amid ongoing concerns about forced labour and slavery in the production of solar panels, which have led the U.S. to block over 1,000 solar shipments over the past few months.

  • The ongoing issues with forced labour and slavery in the production of solar panels are leading some in the industry to look to alternative energy sources, such as wind turbines.
  • The continuing influx of Chinese solar panels also contributes to supply chain issues in the U.S.
  • Last year, the Commerce Department announced it was investigating major Chinese producers JinkoSolar, JA Solar, TrinaSolar, BYD and LONGi Solar.

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China's Emphasis on Coal Amid Energy Security Push

China's energy security push has resulted in a surge in coal power plants, which is in contrast to its renewable energy targets. This move is raising concerns over climate change and air pollution.

  • China's coal power plant expansion plans remain in place, despite its ambitious climate goals and its previous commitments to transition towards cleaner energy sources.
  • China approved 15 GW of new coal-fired power in the first half of 2022 and has stepped up approval of coal mining projects to secure supply, even as global demand for coal is declining.
  • According to NPR, the country also permitted more coal power plants in 2022 than at any time in the past seven years.
  • The latest data suggests that China is burning more coal, which is an issue regarding climate change.
  • The burning of coal may have consequences for companies such as BHP Group and Anglo American, which have exposure to coal mines in China.

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Canada tightens foreign investment rules, hurting miners

Canada's recent tightening of foreign investment rules aimed at tackling security risks is having adverse effects on the mining industry. Canada has proposed overhauling foreign investment rules, making it mandatory for investors from outside the country to notify authorities before buying stakes in companies that deal with security-sensitive goods or technologies.

  • Canada's overhauled foreign investment rules could have severe implications for the country's mining sector, with foreign investors having to give prior notice before buying stakes in companies dealing with sensitive goods or technologies.
  • The three Chinese companies, Chengxin Lithium, Sinomine Resource Group and Zangge Holding Company, have to divest their lithium mining investments in Canada, which will cause financial losses and ripple effects on Canada's lithium market.
  • Chengxin Lithium's exit from the Canadian mining sector has raised concerns about China's increasing influence in the country's natural resources and technology sectors.
  • Canada's move to tighten foreign investment rules is part of a broader trend of countries re-evaluating their relationships with China and taking measures to protect their national security.

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