DRC to explore for green energy metals
Democratic Republic of Congo wants to position itself as a key source of metals in the green energy transition, and that will mean new exploration for nickel and chrome, according to President Felix Tshisekedi.
Exploration for the two minerals will begin “in the next few days” in Congo’s southern, diamond-rich Kasai region, Tshisekedi said Tuesday at the Investing in African Mining Indaba conference in Cape Town, South Africa. The country is also looking for partners to invest in cobalt, tantalum, tin and lithium processing.
The transition to clean-energy technologies is a huge driving force for metals used in batteries, solar components, wind turbines and EVs. Meanwhile, mine output has been limited, helping to send prices for the commodities higher. Copper on the London Metal Exchange is up more than 40 percent since the end of 2019, while nickel surged more than 90 percent.
Congo provides more than two-thirds of the key battery mineral cobalt and is tied with Peru as the world’s second-biggest copper producer, according to the US Geological Survey. It also has significant deposits of other minerals including lithium, graphite and manganese. But only 19 percent of the country — Africa’s second-biggest by landmass — has been properly explored, Tshisekedi said.
“The goal is to discover new deposits that can be the subject of calls for bids, with a view to concluding mutually profitable public-private partnerships,” Tshisekedi said according to an emailed transcript of his remarks. The country’s recently created national geologic service will oversee the exploration, he said.
The president is hoping to attract new investment by improving the regulatory environment — Bloomberg.