Africa’s edge in the green mineral economy – by Gregory Mthembu-Salter (The Africa Report – February 18, 2021)

The continent’s rich resources, including cobalt and lithium, mean African miners will be key players as the world switches to electric vehicles and wind and solar power. For the moment, though, platinum and palladium for fuel-injection vehicles are very much in demand.

Loose talk from mining companies about “sustainability” irritates their critics, who point out that it cannot be sustainable to extract minerals such as copper or cobalt that are non-renewable resources.

Mining companies may, however, be on surer ground when they stress their contribution to the ‘green economy’.

The world’s billions of petrol and diesel engines are a massive known source of carbon emissions, and the electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries that can replace them all depend on components that only mining companies can supply.

Global consumers, however, still prefer petrol and diesel vehicles to electric ones. Chinese state subsidies on electric vehicles and increasingly steep fines imposed by the European Union on their fuel-¬vehicle manufacturers is pushing up demand for EVs, nonetheless.

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