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How Africa’s minerals are vital for the energy transition

Africa mine

As the world tries to phase out fossil fuels, the logical alternative is electric vehicles. As electric vehicles begin to replace traditional cars at scale, there will be an exponential growth in demand for batteries. We have already written about the opportunities facing the mining industry in the future here. Simply put, there will be a spike in demand for copper, lithium and other materials vital for electronics. This raises an important question: where will the world find these materials? The short answer? Africa. But first, why is this important?

A glimpse at the future

The transportation industry, cars and trucks in particular, are a significant source of carbon pollution. It’s not surprising that many countries are in the process of fully phasing out diesel vehicles over the next decade. Gasoline-powered vehicles are likely to go the same way. As the world electrifies, EV’s are a significant part of that. Since they can be charged like any device, demand for energy and sustainable energy in particular is set to rise. And it’s not just EV’s. Renewable energy will require huge amounts of wiring, accumulators and other infrastructure that will all have to be manufactured. Every major urban area will need to vastly increase charging stations.

Why Africa?

Africa, throughout it’s various states, possesses all the necessary metals and minerals that will “fuel” the electrification of the world. Of course, this depends on if these valuable materials are actually mined or not. Already, mining is a significant industry on the world’s second-largest continent. There are many untapped or relatively fresh supplies of ore and other minerals. Simultaneously, labor costs are relatively low while infrastructure is steadily developing. As the extractive infrastructure grows and new veins are discovered, Africa is set to become the powerhouse of the EV industry.

What to keep in mind for the future?

The untapped resources in Africa will undoubtedly shape the speed and costs of electrification. While the precise pace of extraction and distribution is unknown, some companies are already signing contracts for future supplies of lithium and other materials vital for battery production and maintenance. Should supply not keep up, the price of adopting electrification may actually be higher than it is currently.

What can businesses do now?

While it is impossible to predict the future, it can not hurt to develop a roadmap for electrification. Mining companies in particular can consider this question from two directions, namely, what will be the cost to electrify and what battery-related metals and minerals do we mine? There are risks,but also opportunities in store. The industry should learn from experts and peers to develop long-term strategies to meet the coming demand. 

Join key decision makers at the 2nd Energy Transition for the Metals and Mining Industry conference, on January 19-20th, in Toronto, Canada. Industry leaders will gather to discuss and exchange the best practices for implementing green fuel and sustainable infrastructure. Visit or and follow us on our social media to keep track of other events about sustainability in the mining and metals industry.