Japan, Congo agree to cooperate on stable supply of rare metals

Cobalt briquette (Image from Sherrit)

Ministers from Japan and the Democratic Republic of Congo agreed on Friday to co-operate on efforts to ensure stable procurement of the rare metals in whose supply the African nation occupies a dominant role.

Japan’s industry minister, Yasutoshi Nishimura, met the mines minister of the DRC, Antoinette N’Samba Kalambayi, who was visiting Tokyo for a roundtable meeting on rare metals that involved roughly two dozen companies.

They agreed their nations would aim for a “sustainable, mutually beneficial” relationship involving the mining industry, the government said in a statement later.

Highly-sought rare metals, such as cobalt, find use in car batteries, and Congo is the world’s top producer of the metal, accounting for 74% of global output in 2021.

Mining companies and governments in Africa are calling for stronger trade ties with the United States after its new measures set out incentives for US carmakers sourcing battery materials from trade partners.

Battery materials and trade are set to be in focus at next week’s US-Africa summit in Washington, where President Joe Biden will meet leaders of African nations, including Congo.

(By Elaine Lies; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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