South African Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe highlighted at the ‘Investing in African Mining Indaba 2022’ conference in May 2022, the necessity of using the continent’s mineral resources to achieve broader economic development across Africa.
He emphasised that mining was still a sunrise industry on the continent and urged investors to come to Africa, because “That’s where the future is!”
However, many investors are finding it difficult to heed the Minister’s call largely owing to the countless, sometimes insurmountable, barriers that prevent many of them from even getting past the initial stages of exploration. As a result, the extent of Africa’s purported mineral wealth remains unknown.
Tullow Oil and The Metals Company nonexecutive director Sheila Khama, during her keynote address at the 2022 Council for Geoscience Summit in October, noted her unease, however, with this idea that ‘Africa is very rich in minerals’. She argues that other countries on other continents also have minerals and have fewer obstacles to doing business.
Over the past 20 years, the African share of exploration expenditure has significantly declined from what it was. The vast majority of this spend has instead been reallocated to countries and regions where the environment, from an investment policy standpoint, is considered more favourable in terms of political stability, legislative certainty and ease of doing business, she contends.
The paradox is that without continued investment, the accrual of wealth that can result from a thriving natural resource sector falls short of many countries’ ambitions to reduce poverty, think tank Policy Centre for the New South explains.
Constructive partnerships, therefore, are crucial to unlocking the potential of Africa’s mining and natural resource sector, especially since the continent hosts many of the minerals and metals – bauxite, lithium, graphite, nickel, rare earths, platinum-group metals and zinc – required in the production of green energy in the form of batteries, wind turbines and solar panels.
This report is a summary of information published in Engineering News and Mining Weekly, as well as of information available in the public domain over the past 12 months. The report does not purport to provide analysis of market