Like a dirty bank executive brokering a back-alley deal with the local drug dealer, China is accepting illegally-mined iron ore from Mexican cartels, Business Insider reports:
This month, federal officials confirmed the cartels have even entered the country’s lucrative mining industry, exporting iron ore to Chinese mills.
…..The Knights Templar cartel and its predecessor, the La Familia drug gang, have been stealing or extorting shipments of iron ore, or illegally extracting the mineral themselves and selling it through Pacific coast ports, said Michoacan residents, mining companies and current and former federal officials. The cartel had already imposed demands for “protection payments” on many in the state, including shopkeepers, ranchers and farmers.
…..”That illegal activity was encouraged by the great demand for iron by countries such as China, to develop their industries,” according to the department. “Many trading companies began to build up big stockpiles of legally and illegally obtained iron (ore), that was later shipped out for export.”
…..The Chinese Chamber of Commerce did not immediately respond to requests for information on companies that have been involved in buying ore from cartels, knowingly or otherwise.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry declined to comment on whether China had any measures in place to ensure the legal provenance of such imports.
China is currently involved in shady mining practices around the world, most notably in Ghana, where miners operate illegal gold mines that don’t seem to be all that discouraged by the Chinese government. In fact, the greater concern appears to be whether these “upstanding citizens” are released after being detained by Ghanaian officials.
Not that China’s legitimate mining companies are so spectacular, or even that legitimate for that matter.