Mining Indaba confirms African lithium boom

Batteries are the future of electrical energy and the Democratic Republic of Congo intends to be a part of it, especially through its lithium production, of which the country has the largest reserve of hard rock in the world. DRC invests in an integrated sector, where lithium would not only be extracted on site, but converted to take advantage of added value. The Congolese Prime Minister, the Minister of Mining and the Minister of Industry were present in South Africa at the Mining Indaba exhibition, the largest African gathering of professionals in the mining sector. They had come to show their ambitions.

From our correspondent in Cape Town,

Building batteries, why not electric cars made in the Democratic Republic of Congo … The country is doing well, says Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde, Prime Minister of the Congo.

“We think we have one of the largest lithium deposits in the world,” he explains. “That is why we want to position ourselves in the manufacture of batteries and further electric cars. We have all the competitiveness, the labor that can be affordable, we have distances that can be brought closer for these ores that must go into the production of batteries, he adds.

A research and training center on electric batteries was inaugurated in Lubumbashi at the end of April. A few days later, the Democratic Republic of Congo signed an agreement with Zambia to work together to manufacture electric batteries.

Being an integral part of the electric car industry and green innovations The two countries have 80% of the minerals necessary for their construction. Africa no longer wants to be just a mining area, developed Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema. “Together, we will put an end to the received idea that Africa is only a supplier of raw materials,” he assures. “We will make our countries key players in the dawning era of electric vehicles. We want to be an integral part of this new industry: electric cars and green innovations. We do not want to stay on the sidelines, but to be at the center,” argues Hakainde Hichilema.

Despite international competition, the Democratic Republic of Congo has the right to invest in its lithium sector, says Éric Allard, CEO of Tantalex Lithium Resources.

He’s going to run out of lithium, let’s get him where we can. We will never give enough. We can not supply enough lithium by 2030, it is just impossible with the ongoing projects. There is no reason for Manono that lithium should be equivalent to what the copper belt happens to be today. Twenty-five years ago, you would not have thought that there would be so many refineries in Lubumbashi, Kolwezi or Likasi. Today, why could we not say that in 10, 15 years there will be as many refineries in the Manono region for lithium Europe, USA, Canada: lithium battery factories are under construction to compete with the Chinese leader. But DRC has an advantage: the cost of installing such a facility would cost between 2 and 3 times less.

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