Africa has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to boost its development through the massive global demand for its fabulous trove of the minerals the world needs to power a green energy transition.
But will Africa seize the opportunity or let it slip – either by failing to exploit the rare minerals fully, or allowing them to be exploited by others with little benefit for Africa’s people? This was a key theme of the African Mining Indaba 2023 in Cape Town this week.
Africa has significant percentages of most, if not all, the essential minerals and metals needed to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles and other technologies vital for a green energy future. Global demand far outstrips supply, creating a massive potential sellers’ market. The International Energy Agency has predicted that demand for most minerals essential to the clean energy transition will increase by a factor of four to six.
‘For some minerals, the increase will be exponential. By 2040, graphite demand will increase by 25 times, and lithium by 42 times,’ United States (US) Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Jose Fernandez told the indaba.
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