How the US-led West plans to take on China in Africa in the race for critical minerals

how the us-led west plans to take on china in africa in the race for critical minerals

Worried about their vulnerability to China and Russia, the US and its allies have established a funding initiative for resource-rich African countries to bolster critical mineral supply chains essential for a clean energy transition that will challenge Chinese dominance.

Last month, the US-led group – the Minerals Security Partnership – met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York to discuss priorities, challenges and opportunities in responsible mining and processing of critical minerals.

The partnership, which was started in June in Canada, brings together the US, Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Britain and the European Commission.

Attending the meeting in New York were five of Africa’s mineral-rich countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia. The initiative promises to help African nations with funding and information to improve the domestic processing of critical minerals.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at the meeting that the US and its allies were open to “providing a loan guarantee or debt financing” to countries that had abundant minerals used in electric car batteries, solar panels and wind turbines. This is part of President Joe Biden’s aim to secure minerals such as lithium and cobalt to help the US’ green energy transition – a supply chain that China dominates.

Blinken said the initiative would support projects that adhered to high environmental, social and governance standards. “We want to make this a race to the top, not a race to the bottom,” he said.

As an example he cited a mine in Balama, Mozambique, that will soon send graphite for further processing to a plant in Louisiana, to be used to make batteries for American electric vehicle manufacturers.

Guillaume Pitron, an associate research fellow at the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs who specialises in raw materials and digital pollution, said China had the upper hand on the downstream value chain of most of the critical minerals and metals necessary for green tech.

“The US and Europe are waking up, but it is going to take time,” he said.

In Africa, “the case of cobalt is of real interest”, he added.

China now dominates the import and processing of critical minerals, especially those used to make electric vehicle batteries.

It has extensive mining interests in African countries. For instance, it sources more than 60 per cent of its cobalt needs from the DRC. And since last year, Chinese companies have made various acquisitions in Zimbabwe for lithium, which is in high demand for lithium-ion rechargeable batteries that power electric vehicles and solar panels. China also has interests in other resource-rich countries, including Zambia, Namibia and South Africa.

The US and Europe are waking up, but it is going to take time

Guillaume Pitron, French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs

Lauren Johnston, China-Africa senior researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs, said China had had more foresight and fewer boundaries in terms of securing access in Africa. It has been investing in the DRC, Zambia and Zimbabwe and has had long-standing investments in Australia, Canada and Chile.

She said the US government appeared to be putting up money for opportunities in the critical metals market recently. For example, it is investing in battery supply chain development in Australia.

“The funny thing is that they need China; it’s not possible to exclude China in some cases. They are the only ones with the processing knowledge,” Johnston said.

“One reason that China leads in these industries is that a lot of the processing is dangerous and toxic,” she said. “China has been the country willing to bear the related industrial and environmental risks and costs.”

But overall, she said, it was a challenge to take on that type of industry because of the standards and expertise required.

In Africa, Johnston said the minerals were a “big chance” for the Southern African Development Community, a regional economic bloc of 16 member countries mostly from Southern and Central Africa. “Let us hope that they become part of that emerging global supply chain,” he said.

Alex Vines, head of the Africa programme at Chatham House, a London-based think tank, said the West would attempt to lock in supply chains or at least try to ensure that the minerals were open to the market. He said China’s behaviour regarding oil production from its state oil companies in Sudan was to go to the open market and not lock up the supply – some of which was bought by Japan.

“Western nations are reviewing what are strategic or critical minerals and how to improve their supply chains,” Vines said.

He said the abundance on the continent should give additional agency to African mineral producers, who would be able to extract better deals. “The question is, will this be just for narrow elite consumption, or will these governments use this opportunity to assist poverty reduction and promote development and jobs?” Vines said.

Russian companies have interests in coltan, cobalt, gold and diamonds in countries such as Angola, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria and Guinea.

According to a new study by the African Climate Foundation, the Russian private security contractor Wagner has capitalised on mineral and mining operations sales in Africa.

The report said the Wagner group used military tactics to support governments in times of conflict, and in return benefited from lucrative mining deals and special diplomatic status within countries.

“Russia plans to continue to spread its influence within the region through private military companies’ operations,” said study researchers Antonio Andreoni, a professor of development economics at SOAS University of London, and Simon Roberts, an economics professor at the University of Johannesburg.

One reason that China leads in these industries is that a lot of the processing is dangerous and toxic

Lauren Johnston, South African Institute of International Affairs

They said the African continent was becoming a battlefield in the race among superpowers to secure access to critical minerals, with companies from China and Russia playing a major role.

The study noted that the continent was endowed with large amounts of strategic critical mineral resources.

For example, 70 per cent of global cobalt production comes from the DRC, and more than 80 per cent of the world’s known platinum and manganese are in South Africa and Zimbabwe. South Africa is a leading supplier of ruthenium, iridium and rhodium, and Gabon is a major producer of manganese. Mozambique and Tanzania had significant reserves of graphite, and the DRC and Zambia were important sources of copper, the study noted.

The researchers said Washington saw China’s control over crucial mineral supply chains and dominance in rare earth metals “as two of the largest strategic vulnerabilities of the US and her allies since the Arab oil embargo-triggered energy security crisis of the 1970s”.

Jen-Yi (Jay) Chen, an associate professor of operations and supply chain management at Cleveland State University, said Western nations would and should examine the supply chains of key products and “make sure they are diversified enough to not become victims of any geopolitical tensions”.

He said Western countries’ efforts to rebuild their supply chains for critical minerals was a costly one, but it was not the only way to diversify as long as they did not put all their eggs in one basket.

He said that since Africa was mineral-rich by nature, nations “should leverage but look beyond just the short-term economic values of these minerals and seek to integrate further down the supply chains, like attracting manufacturers to invest there, for more sustainable economic prosperity”.

News Related


2 Family Members Found Dead, 2-Year-Old Unharmed in Apartment in East Chatham

Two relatives were found dead Wednesday inside an apartment in the East Chatham neighborhood on the South Side but a toddler was unharmed. During a brief news conference, Deputy Chief ... Read more »

Alberta sovereignty bill close to finish line as government invokes debate time limit

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s sovereignty bill galloped toward the finish line Wednesday, with the government using debate time limits to rebut what it called Opposition delay tactics. Opposition NDP Leader ... Read more »

Montreal-area community comes together to help family cope during teen’s cancer fight

Tarik Bensalem loves his Lego figures and spends much of his time these days building them. “They’re really fun to make, actually,” he told Global News from a desk in ... Read more »

Ranbir Kapoor On His “Disaster” Films, India’s Struggling Box Office & His Desire To Direct — Red Sea Film Festival 

Ranbir Kapoor. Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images for The Red Sea International Film Festival. An unwieldy crowd rushed the stage and frequently broke out in song as Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor ... Read more »

Apple details plans to beef up encryption of data in its iCloud

SAN FRANCISCO – Apple has long promised that what is on your iPhone stays on your iPhone. But that pledge came with the caveat that if law enforcement had a ... Read more »

China loosens COVID restrictions after protests rock the country

China loosens COVID restrictions after protests rock the country Authorities have locked down entire neighborhoods, towns and even cities. BEIJING — China loosened some key COVID-19 controls on Wednesday after ... Read more »

West Hollywood requiring all new businesses to have multi-stall gender-neutral bathrooms

West Hollywood requiring all new businesses to have multi-stall gender-neutral bathrooms Some businesses won't be impacted by the new law, which goes into effect Jan. 1. The West Hollywood City ... Read more »

Authorities investigate possible overdose of four students at Moreno Valley middle school

Fire officials rushed to a Moreno Valley middle school Wednesday to investigate the possible overdose of four students who had ingested an unknown substance. The incident was reported shortly after ... Read more »

Experimental decoy drug tricks coronavirus, then destroys it

The coronavirus has been a shifty foe, with new variants and subvariants rapidly evolving to evade vaccines and treatments. Researchers at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute are working on an experimental ... Read more »

Sleep Relief: Some Apnea Patients Face Challenges Seeking Replacement Device Under Recall

A massive recall led to restless nights for sleep apnea patients. Now, some say it was a "bait and switch" after the company at the heart of the recall says certain devices are not eligible for a repair or replacement option. Read more »

Jim Cramer Says Not to Fear Bearish Economic Talk From Bank CEOs – There's No ‘Financial Apocalypse'

CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Wednesday told investors that they should take gloomy economic commentary from bank executives with a grain of salt. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said on Tuesday ... Read more »

‘Horrific Tragedy Averted:' Chilling New Details Revealed in NYC's Penn Station Arrests

One suspect arrested at the transit hub had a knife, ski mask and swastika armband in his possession, the New York Supreme Court indictment alleges Read more »

Suspects in plot to shoot up NYC synagogue conferred with state prison inmate: prosecutors

The wannabe Nazis who planned to shoot up a synagogue in New York City plotted with two other people, including a state prison inmate whom they told about their plans ... Read more »

Unsheltered in Winnipeg winter: Woman found unresponsive at bus shelter Monday sparks conversation

Winnipeg is beginning to see bone-chilling temperatures and on Monday a 27-year-old woman was found unresponsive at a bus shelter by outreach workers. “She was an individual that the outreach ... Read more »

Warner Bros Release Dates: ‘The Flash’ & ‘Aquaman’ Moved To 2023; ‘Wonka’, ‘Shazam’ Sequel & Others Shift – Updated

(L-R) Ezra Miller as The Flash and Jason Momoa as Aquaman in 2017’s “Justice League” Everett UPDATED: We’ve heard that a number of these movies, which are VFX heavy, are ... Read more »

US manufacturers with ties to China applaud easing of Covid-19 restrictions

China’s sudden shift away from its strict Covid-19 containment measures took many US analysts by surprise, sparking expectations that Beijing’s apparent policy response to popular unrest would allow for a ... Read more »

Jalen Hurts’ development only makes Giants’ Daniel Jones neglect hurt more

You watch the way Jalen Hurts has blossomed into an MVP candidate, and you can’t help but admire the way that the Eagles have done everything in their power to ... Read more »

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder calls for Apple, Spotify to remove Kanye’s music

President of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder is calling for Kanye West’s music to be removed from streaming services, saying the rapper is “espousing Nazism” and must be deplatformed. ... Read more »

Accounting red flags are common among public Crypto companies

Weak controls and related-party transactions appear in disclosures across industry Read more »

European energy firms capture most leases in California offshore wind auction

Europe wins right to develop US offshore wind energy in California for $757.1 million Read more »

Texas governor bans TikTok, Indiana launches investigations into Chinese-owned app

Texas and Indiana become fourth and fifth states to take measures against the use of TikTok, joining South Carolina, South Dakota, and Maryland. Read more »

Apple plans new encryption system to ward off hackers and protect iCloud data

‘Advanced Data Protection’ will offer end-to-end encryption on iCloud backups, Notes, Photos and other services—a step that may draw ire from law enforcement Read more »

Country Singer Jana Kramer Joins The Cast Of Chicago Fire

Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images It looks like Jana Kramer will be part of the “Chicago Fire” team, at least in some way. The country singer, whose songs “I Got the Boy” ... Read more »

Texas House Democratic Caucus elects Trey Martinez Fischer as its new chair

Martinez Fischer replaces Rep. Chris Turner of Grand Prairie, who has led the caucus since 2017 and did not seek reelection. Read more »

Op-Ed: The ominous way the Supreme Court could change our elections

Does a state supreme court have the power to find that an act of the state legislature violates the state constitution? The answer to that question should be clear and ... Read more »

Column: Warnock won and Walker lost because voters judged on character

Even in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream — “one day, on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will ... Read more »

WizKid is going on a huge 2023 tour. Some tickets are $35.

Getty Images In 2023, WizKid is bringing “More Love, Less Ego” to the world. His “More Love, Less Ego Tour,” which shares a name with his well-received 2022 album, will ... Read more »

11-year-old sworn in as honorary officer for 53 police departments

11-year-old sworn in as honorary officer for 53 police departments The boy was honored at a ceremony at the FBI Academy Monday. Adam Colon, the chief of police of Franklin, ... Read more »

Slate of New Mexico regulatory candidates sparks concern

Slate of New Mexico regulatory candidates sparks concern Many decisions by New Mexico’s most powerful regulatory panel have had direct economic and environmental consequences for one corner of the state, ... Read more »

New bot ChatGPT will force colleges to get creative to prevent cheating, experts say

After its viral launch last week, the chatbot ChatGPT was lauded online by some as a dramatic step forward for artificial intelligence andthe potential future of web search. But with ... Read more »

Stock Futures Are Little Changed as Investors Assess Risk of an Economic Downturn

U.S. stock futures were little changed on Wednesday night following a fifth straight day of losses for the S&P 500 as Wall Street weighed the likelihood of a recession. Dow ... Read more »

Alberta’s 2 deputy chief medical officers of health resign

Less than a month after news broke that their boss was fired, two of Alberta’s other top doctors have resigned from their posts within the provincial government, Health Minister Jason ... Read more »

Montreal woman critically injured after being hit by vehicle in Parc-Extension

A woman in her 80s is in critical condition in hospital after she was struck by a vehicle on Wednesday afternoon. Montreal police spokesperson Julien Levesque said it happened at ... Read more »

Elizabeth Holmes’ ex-partner ‘Sunny’ Balwani gets almost 13 years in Theranos case

A judge on Wednesday sentenced former Theranos executive Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani to nearly 13 years in prison for his role in the company’s blood-testing hoax _ a sentence slightly longer ... Read more »

Saskatchewan mothers still struggling to find formula due to provincial supply shortage

Saskatchewan mothers across the province are reporting not being able to feed their babies due to a province-wide shortage on formula. Sherry Rapley, a member of CACA Parent and Baby ... Read more »

The Game Awards 2022: The full list of nominees

The Game Awards The complete list of nominees The Game Awards 2022, presented December 8th, 2022, is below. The Game Awards are being presented from Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles. Authenticated ... Read more »

Georgia had voter ‘suppression’ despite Warnock win, White House claims

WASHINGTON — White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre insisted Wednesday that “there was suppression” of voters in Tuesday’s Georgia Senate runoff election despite Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock’s easy win. Jean-Pierre ... Read more »

Democrats didn’t just win Georgia: They secured a firmer grip on the Senate

WASHINGTON – Senator Raphael Warnock’s victory in Georgia’s runoff election on Tuesday delivered Democrats just one additional seat, but that single layer of padding for their majority will hand them ... Read more »

After suicides, lawmakers push for mental health resources for border agents

After suicides, lawmakers push for mental health resources for border agents Fourteen CBP agents committed suicide in 2022, the highest rate in 13 years. As Republicans plan to aggressively challenge ... Read more »

Charlie Cox Runs From His Past In Treason's Thrilling Trailer

Netflix/YouTube 2022 has proven a big year for Charlie Cox, predominantly on the Marvel front. Following his surprise return to the role of Matt Murdock in December 2021’s “Spider-Man: No ... Read more »
Breaking thailand news, thai news, thailand news Verified News Story Network