Ministers of the G7 group, with support from the International Energy Agency, have proposed a Five-Point Action Plan for Critical Minerals Security. It includes a medium and long-term demand-supply outlook, increased recycling and sharing of capabilities, innovation in resource-sharing, and preparation for supply disruptions. The plan also emphasizes the need for new mines and supply chains for critical minerals, presenting opportunities for African markets.
African Minerals Shine Bright Amid Supply Concerns
The G7 Action Plan presents a strategy for addressing supply chain challenges caused by the overreliance on a few producing countries. Currently, China and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (https://apo-opa.info/3MTRYrB) (DRC) are responsible for approximately 60% and 70% of the world’s cobalt supply, respectively; Latin America accounts for 40% of copper production; while Chile and Argentina produce 35% of the world’s lithium. This presents several challenges for consumers such as price fluctuations and supply bottlenecks, and with the pace of the global energy transition largely dependent on the supply of critical minerals, the plan aims to address supply chain challenges by capitalizing on promising, alternative critical minerals markets.
“We reaffirm the growing importance of critical minerals for the clean energy transition and the need to prevent economic and security risks caused by vulnerable supply chains, monopolization and lack of diversification of existing suppliers of critical minerals,” the G7 Group said in a statement (https://apo-opa.info/3ooN6Rb). The plan will “boost the development of new mines and supply chains for critical minerals in a responsible manner that promoted transparency and traceability to meet the rising demand. We explore ways to cooperatively support the acquisition of critical minerals as competition for these scarce resources becomes more intense…”
In this scenario, Africa has garnered significant attention, as the continent represents one of the biggest critical minerals play worldwide. In addition to the DRC, major producing producers such as Zimbabwe (https://apo-opa.info/3ohgCIh), Mali and South Africa, as well as emerging markets such as Namibia, Nigeria and others offer significant investment and mineral development opportunities. South Africa already accounts for 60% of the world’s manganese supply; 75% of platinum supply and 40% of palladium supply while Zimbabwe produced up to 15 metric tons of platinum alone in 2021 and Namibia produced 12% of the world’s uranium supply in 2020. Despite this progress, much of the continent’s critical minerals remain untapped. With the right investment, Africa stands to play a central role in stabilizing global supply chains and accelerating the energy transition.
African Critical Minerals Summit Connects Consumers with Producers
Hot on the heels of the G7 Action Plan, South Africa is set to host the first-ever African Critical Minerals Summit (https://apo-opa.info/41gMMCh) in Johannesburg on November 6-7. Hosted by the country’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, the conference will gather over 2,000 delegates from around the world, including delegations from the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, BRICS and G20 countries.
As global stakeholders look towards the continent’s resources, the summit will connect key producers and users of the very mineral resources that underpin modern technologies, supply chains and energy production.
While the G7 Action Plan lays the foundation for strengthened investment in Africa’s critical minerals markets, the African Critical Minerals Summit will be the place where deals can be signed that will help diversify global supply chains, thus preventing the very economic and security risks the G7 Group hopes to address.