Sub-Sahara Mining & Industrial Journal
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DRC eyes role in global battery metal supply amid energy transition

The DRC-Africa Battery Metals Forum in Kinshasa focused on the region’s potential in the global energy transition. Experts, including Dominique Sambwa from SRK Consulting, discussed leveraging DRC and Zambia’s significant cobalt and copper resources for battery precursor manufacturing.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is emerging as a crucial player in the global battery metals market, pivotal for the energy transition. The DRC-Africa Battery Metals Forum in Kinshasa brought together industry leaders and experts like Dominique Sambwa of SRK Consulting Congo to explore the region’s opportunities in this evolving sector.

The forum highlighted the strategic position of the DRC and Zambia, responsible for over 70% of the world’s cobalt and a substantial share of copper production. This places them uniquely to transition from raw material exporters to manufacturers of battery precursors, essential for cathode production in batteries.

Sambwa stressed the significance of governmental collaboration in this endeavour, particularly in developing Special Economic Zones (SEZs) for battery manufacturing shared by the DRC and Zambia. The prefeasibility study for this initiative, currently underway, is a critical step towards attracting key investors and initiating the process.

Lindsay Shand, SRK Consulting’s principal environmental geologist, noted the identified lithium resource areas and the involvement of large mining organizations in different stages of the permitting and mining process. She emphasized the need for the DRC government to improve services, amend tax laws, and provide incentives to bolster the mining sector and associated industries.

Pengfei Xiao, managing director of SRK China, highlighted the forum’s focus on international standards in mining and the importance of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) aspects. This approach ensures that the benefits of mining reach local communities and aligns with global sustainability goals.

The forum also discussed the need for renewable energy sources in mining operations, particularly hydroelectric power, to lower carbon emissions. This aligns with the ESG focus on sustainable mining practices and battery manufacturing.

Overall, the DRC envisions a future where it plays a pivotal role in the global battery metals supply chain, contributing to the energy transition while fostering economic development and sustainability in the region.

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