July 18, 2024

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African Nations Unite to Boost Mining Industry and Realize Its Full Potential

African leaders, mining experts, and global investors have gathered in South Africa for the annual mining indaba, or conference.

According to the United Nations, Africa holds approximately 30% of the world’s mineral reserves, but the majority of this wealth remains untapped.

“Africa has the potential to be the fulcrum of the global energy transition, with mining at its core,” said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at the opening ceremony of the four-day event in Cape Town.

The race for Africa’s critical minerals, such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese, and graphite, will be the focus of discussions. These minerals are required for the production of renewable energy, including solar panels and wind turbines.

However, South Africa is Africa’s largest greenhouse gas emitter. The majority of these emissions come from coal-fired power plants, which generate 80% of the country’s electricity.

South Africa’s energy crisis has made it difficult to remove coal-fired power plants from the grid.

“South Africa is pursuing a just energy transition – one that is at a pace and scale that our country can afford, and in a manner that ensures energy security and creates new opportunities for those affected,” said president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Several African countries with important mineral resources export them as raw ores, with little value addition occurring at the source. As a result, they have failed to realize the full potential of these resources. It has also resulted in exploitative labour practices throughout Africa’s mining industries.

Lack of infrastructure has also made it difficult for countries to deliver minerals to markets in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

According to the Natural Resource Governance Institute, the mining industry accounts for only 8% of total government revenue in Africa’s 15 most mining-dependent economies.

During this conference, African governments are expected to demand more bargaining power and negotiate a higher value for their resources.

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