‘Africa is set to unlock its critical mineral potential’

By Guardian Reporter , The Guardian
Published at 10:25 AM Jun 15 2024
African countries with large share of critical minerals.
File Photo
African countries with large share of critical minerals.

THE Critical Minerals Africa (CMA) summit will return for its second edition in Cape Town South Africa, later in November; bringing together African and global policymakers, project leaders and key stakeholders along the critical minerals value chain to unlock and promote investment opportunities across Africa’s mining space.

A statement issued yesterday by Energy Capital & Power (ECP), and shared to this journalist, indicated that the African continent is home to 30 percent of global critical mineral reserves, including lithium, cobalt, platinum group metals (PGMs) and copper that are essential for energy transition and fourth industrial revolution technologies.

In order to capitalize on growing demand for transition metals and minerals, Africa’s leading mining markets are seeking to catalyze investment across the critical minerals supply chain, with a view to maximizing production, diversifying exports and advancing manufacturing and end use applications of critical minerals across the continent.

Organized alongside the African Energy Week, CMA 2024 is set to engaging government officials from across the continent and globally, a high-level Ministerial Forum will examine the policy frameworks, infrastructure requirements and international cooperation requisite for empowering Africa’s critical minerals industry.

CMA will host three forums; one dedicated to investment, featuring strategic opportunities for producers and buyers in critical mineral and rare earth projects, and a leader’s forum focusing on key trends and policy initiatives that will drive the success of African mineral producers into a new era.

Showcasing South Sudan’s frontier mining potential, CMA 2024 will feature the first-ever South Sudan Mining forum, set to attract investment in the exploration and exploitation of the country’s prospective gold, zinc, manganese, nickel and cobalt deposits.

Another regional focus will be on Southern Africa, where the mining sector is a key GDP and employment driver and the region holds half of the world’s vanadium, platinum and diamonds, as well as substantial gold and cobalt reserves.

Zambia represents one of the leading copper producers globally and recently introduced the Mineral Regulations Commission Bill to streamline mining licensing and fiscal terms, as it targets one million tons of copper output by 2026.

Meanwhile, South Africa is advancing its PGMs industry – of which it holds over 90 percent of global reserves – to meet growing demand for energy transition technologies, including green hydrogen and fuel cell applications.

In the logistics sector, African producers are looking to bolster mining sector infrastructure to advance mapping and exploration activities, while ensuring the establishment of value-added industries.

A session on the transnational Lobito Corridor will explore opportunities for Angola, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo in facilitating mineral trade from the Copperbelt region to international markets. Having secured substantial financial commitments from global partners, the project also serves as a successful model for attracting foreign investment and galvanizing broad international support.

“Building on the success of our inaugural event, CMA 2024 takes on an expanded agenda, uniting Africa’s leading mining companies, project developers and industry stakeholders. This year's summit will be instrumental in unlocking investment opportunities across Africa’s critical minerals space and ensuring the sector is leveraged for long-term and inclusive growth, while supporting the global energy transition,” said James Chester, ECP Senior Director.

CMA is the largest gathering of critical mineral stakeholders in Africa. The event positions Africa as the primary investment destination for critical minerals. This year’s edition takes place under the theme Innovate, Enact, Invest in African Critical Minerals to Sustain Global Growth, connecting African mining projects and regulators with global investors and stakeholders to untap the full potential of the continent’s raw materials.