Energy transition, investment and regulations dominate talks at Mining Indaba 2023
As Africa progresses towards its net zero emissions targets, it needs to transition from a fossil fuel-based energy system to one that is renewable and ultimately more sustainable.
This was among the key points addressed at the three-day Africa Mining Indaba 2023 forum, which ended on February 9.
The forum attracted global investors and a number of African Heads of State, with President Cyril Ramaphosa as chief guest.
Key takeaway notes revolved around some of the prospects which define mining in Africa moving forward.
Integration into the chemical space was part of the opportunities discussed especially in discussion around floro-chemical with its market value placed at Ksh.2.6 trillion (US$21 billion) globally
Second was the transition to energy – green hydrogen space in particular and the value chain around it. The logistics and movement of green hydrogen and opportunity enhanced permitting in handling and storage of hydrogen for existing mining permits.
Much discussed was also an exploration in global spending in mining. South Africa currently lags behind DR Congo which is today’s leader in Africa in terms of exploration space – currently at a 2.6 percent valuation, representing Ksh.25.1 billion (US$.200 million).
“If you can get your exploration right, it would be your leading indicator for a healthy mining industry,” said business management consultancy Zamlim Investments CEO Dzingira Matenga, echoed by Ramaphosa who said, “we will continue working with the industry on reducing backlogs in prospecting and mining applications.”
Matenga challenged commercial banks on the continent to participate in developing the mines and take more risks to boost the value chain in the sector.
“Opening this space is getting a great level of participation from commercial banks. Banks have focused more on working capital and operating mines.”
Testing, inspection and certification company Bureau Veritas also took part in this year’s Mining Indaba and promised solutions for the mining industry on the continent.
According to the firm’s Vice President Gavin Hefer, these solutions include the company’s testing, inspection and certification of metals.
“What we are basically doing is shaping a world of trust, especially applicable in the current world of uncertainty we are living in,” said Hefer.
Bureau Veritas has been in Africa for 124 years and currently operates in 44 countries.
Mining production in South Africa in 2022 hit a record high of Ksh8.1 trillion (R1.18 trillion) boosting the country’s Gross Domestic Production (GDP), exports and revenue.
Despite this achievement, Ramaphosa acknowledged that the country is far from realising the full potential of the mining industry.
“In addition to the energy crisis and problems with port and rail operations, the outlook for the year ahead has been dampened by concerns about safety and security, illegal mining and the pace of our structural reform programme,” said Ramaphosa.
DR Congo re-assures stability at Mining Indaba 2023
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been known for its mining potential representing 1,100 different mineral substances.
Speaking at the Mining Indaba 2023, DRC’s President Felix Tshisekedi challenged foreign investors to invest in local communities that have for the longest, been affected by mining activities.
He, however, reiterated his idea of having local industries participate in the processing of mining products, in order to enable African populations to benefit more from the riches of their subsoil.
“The mining sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo can only be profitable for you, the investors if it responds to the aspirations of the local communities affected by the mining projects. It is in this precise context that revenue redistribution mechanisms have been inserted into my country’s legislation, for the benefit of the populations impacted by mining projects,” said President Tshisekedi.
Tshisekedi also revealed his intent to woo investors for cobalt, and lithium processing in the country.
He confirmed that exploration for two minerals – nickel and Chrome – will begin in the next few days in Congo’s Southern, Diamond-rich Kasai region and re-assured that measures have been taken to put an end to insecurity and help the Congolese to benefit from their country’s mineral resources through rational exploitation.