Skip to content

South Africa Hosted the World’s Biggest Mining Investment Conference this Week

Industry experts in attendance said the U.S. and China are in a race for the critical minerals — such as cobalt and lithium — that will likely power the projected transition to clean energy. Rare earth minerals are essential for electric vehicle production and expanding the production of green technologies. However, their extraction can come at an environmental or social cost to African countries that have big deposits. A first-time sponsor of the Mining Indaba this year was Chinese company Zijin, one of the largest mining groups in the world with interests in lithium, copper and other metals. African governments are now trying to get the best deals for their people. Namibia’s Mines Minister Tom Alweendo told Reuters at the Cape Town conference that his country is insisting that all lithium mined in Namibia has to be processed in the country. Despite its vast mineral resources, Congo is one of the world’s least developed countries and Tshisekedi said in January it hadn’t benefited from a $6.2 billion minerals-for-infrastructure contract with China signed by his predecessor. Besides the rising tensions between China and the West in Africa, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will also force mining companies to make hard decisions.

VOA