SRK Consulting has built deep experience working in the African mining sector and has developed a firm grasp of where potential opportunities are and some of the critical challenges preventing the industry from contributing to local economies to its fullest potential.
The Northern Miner’s senior reporter, Henry Lazenby, catches up with SRK Consulting director and principal consultant Andrew van Zyl and Pengfei Xiao, managing director of SRK Consulting in China, to learn more.
Q: Henry Lazenby – Let’s start with SRK’s view on how Africa is positioned to help the global Energy Transition. Would SRK say enough is being done at the national government and regional trade block levels on the African continent to step up and produce the critical minerals the world so desperately needs?
A: Andrew van Zyl – While contributing relatively little to the carbon emissions that have hastened climate change, African countries are significantly contributing to supplying the minerals for a global energy transition. This is mainly through the production of copper and cobalt in central Africa and platinum group metals in southern Africa. The Democratic Republic of Congo, for instance, is a leading producer of cobalt and tantalum.
That said, only a minority of African countries have extensive mining sectors, and many of these do not include battery minerals as such. Where these minerals exist in economic quantities, governments have generally provided the necessary frameworks for the private sector to explore and develop them. Increasingly, laws and policies are also evolving to ensure that investments in mining projects have the best possible impacts on host countries and local communities.