Rising commodity prices may have revived enthusiasm for African resources, but it’s unlikely to be the old mainstays of coal and iron ore pulling crowds this week as the mining industry meets in Cape Town, Bloomberg reports.
The electric-vehicle (EV) boom and shifting industrial demand have transformed formerly Niche Metals — from lithium and cobalt to praseodymium and neodymium — into the hot new drawcards of African mining for large firms such as Glencore and AVZ Minerals Ltd.
Far smaller and cheaper than the gargantuan mine, port and rail developments pursued by the likes of BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group during the last boom, these next-generation mines may stand a better chance of success.
African countries currently primed to take advantage of this rush include Malawi (Rare Earths), Tanzania (Niobium), Mozambique (Graphite), Congo (Cobalt, Lithium), Namibia, Niger and Ivory Coast (Lithium). Nigeria could be among these nations but for its inadequate exploitation of its mineral deposits.
A “world class and highly unusual” nickel discovery was made in Nigeria in 2016 by Australian firm; Comet. Glencore Plc and Trafigura also said recently that the rise of EVs could have major implications for nickel, which is a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries. As such, Nigeria’s mines ministry must ensure that it maximizes the emerging opportunity.
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