‘Majority of minerals key to global energy transition are in Africa’: South African president

Africa’s largest annual mining conference kicks off in Cape Town, attracting mining professionals and investors from across globe

The vast majority of minerals that are key to the global energy transition lie beneath Africa’s rich soil, South Africa’s president said Monday, citing critical metals such as manganese, iron, copper, cobalt, nickel, and platinum.

“Africa has the potential to be the fulcrum of the global energy transition, with mining at its core,” Cyril Ramaphosa said in his keynote address at the opening of the Investing in Africa Mining Indaba, the largest annual mining conference on the continent.

The summit, which brings together investors and mining professionals from across the world annually, is celebrating its 30th anniversary in Cape Town. Since 1994, the mining Indaba has been the leading place for deal sourcing and corporate matchmaking for the African mining industry.

Ramaphosa said South Africa is pursuing a just energy transition, one that is at a pace and scale that his country can afford, and in a manner that ensures energy security and creates new opportunities for those affected. South Africa heavily relies on coal-fired power plants to generate electricity, but is gradually diversifying it with other energy sources.

“Our Just Energy Transition Investment Plan outlines a pathway to create new industries and support more livelihoods in the green economy,” he explained.

The mining industry faces some challenges that dampen its business operating environment, including global commodity price volatility, high energy prices, and geopolitical tensions, among others, he said.

In South Africa, the industry faces an energy crisis and port and rail bottlenecks which are putting serious pressure on miners’ operational costs, he added.

“We are committed to work hard and work together to overcome these serious challenges,” he said.

Ramaphosa said his country has secured 1,384 megawatts of new generation capacity that is currently in construction or already in operation to ease the burden on the mining industry, which currently contributes roughly 7.5% towards gross domestic product and accounts for some 60% of South Africa’s exports by value.

Some of the regional leaders expected to attend and speak include Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema and Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde, prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo.


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