Currently viewing Global edition

Lies, damn lies and mineral statistics

Klaus Kleinfeld, chairman and CEO of Alcoa, recently lambasted China for its export of ‘fake’ aluminium semis, that is to say aluminium which has been minimally transformed so as to avoid the export tariff which China applies to unwrought forms of the metal. In doing so, he drew attention to a much bigger issue, the continuing deterioration in the quality of mineral industry statistics.

Industry analysts have a lot to contend with. It is the nature of the job that their forecasts are often wrong. I seem to recall Robert Friedland once unkindly referring to them (perhaps I shoul...