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Is the Continent Ready for Sustainable Mining Practices?

The demand for extracting and processing critical minerals is increasing at a monumental pace. This is primarily due to the increase in the global population which is expected to reach 9 billion by 2030 – including 3 billion new middle-class consumers. According to World Bank projections, in the next 25 years, the world will need 550 million tons of copper. That means that the last 5000 years of world production will barely cover the next 25 years of demand. The rapid increase in the demand for minerals is also due to climate change, which calls for an imminent shift to clean energy. It is indicative that the global battery market, which allows the storage of wind and solar energy and can provide people with clean, affordable, round-the-clock power, is expected to grow from roughly $65 billion to $100 billion by 2025. The African continent, with its vast endowments of critical minerals, can be deeply impacted by this unprecedented demand. To ensure the impacts are beneficial and turned into a growth opportunity, governments, the private sector, and other key players must work together to adopt sustainable mining practices – including the recycling and reuse of minerals and metals throughout the process.