The first Investing in African Mining Indaba conference to take place in person in two years will be an opportunity for African countries to lure investment into the sector that has remained resilient during Covid-19 amid strong demand for mining commodities.
Headlining the event will be heads of state from Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa pitching opportunities in the continent’s rich precious metals and minerals seams.
President Hakainde Hichilema, who has wasted no time in targeting reforms and clamping down on corruption since taking office in August, is expected to make a “big announcement” in the run-up to the event.
In a keynote speech on Day 1 of the conference, dubbed “A New Dawn for Zambia’s Mining Sector”, he is expected to highlight the country’s huge mining potential as it moves away from his predecessor Edgar Lungu’s legacy of resource nationalism, says Tom Quinn, head of content for Mining Indaba.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to unveil plans to transform South Africa’s massive platinum belt into “hydrogen valley”, as he positions the country as a hub in a market expected to be worth $2.5 trillion by 2050.
Ramaphosa is also likely to discuss the country’s transition from coal, which supplies about 80% of its grid energy, to cleaner energy, a theme that will run deep throughout the conference, Quinn says.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi is also poised to showcase Botswana’s rich manganese deposits, demonstrating that the country has more to offer than diamonds alone. Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa will roll-out the nation’s lithium mining opportunities, which could attract investors keen to ween themselves off Ukrainian lithium.
The critical minerals used in electric vehicle batteries have seen burgeoning demand as consumers in the electric vehicle battery supply chain seek longer-term contracts with producers in Africa.