Electric Cars and Niche Metals Lure Cash to Africa’s Mines – by Thomas Wilson and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – February 2, 2018)


Rising commodity prices may have revived enthusiasm for African resources, but it’s unlikely to be the old mainstays of coal and iron ore pulling crowds next week as the mining industry meets in Cape Town.

The electric-vehicle boom and shifting industrial demand have transformed formerly niche metals — from lithium and cobalt to praseodymium and neodymium — into the hot new drawcards of African mining.

Far smaller and cheaper than the gargantuan mine, port and rail developments pursued by the likes of BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group during the last boom, these next-generation mines may stand a better chance of success.

Here are five metals grabbing attention across the continent.

Rare Earths in Malawi

Struggling commodities trader Noble Group Ltd. surprised metal market watchers in November with a 12 million-pound ($17 million) investment in a rare-earth project in Malawi.

The owner, Mkango Resources Ltd., says its deposits of neodymium and praseodymium will be used in magnets for products such as electric-vehicles and wind turbines.

For the rest of this article: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-02/electric-cars-and-niche-metals-lure-cash-back-to-african-mines