Climate change action could set off a copper mining boom: how Zambia can make the most of it – by Twivwe Siwale (The Conversation – January 8, 2023)

At last year’s US Africa leaders summit in Washington the US signed an historic memorandum of understanding with Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo to develop an electric vehicle battery supply chain.

At the summit, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema also announced that Kobold metals, an exploration firm backed by billionaires Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson, will invest US$150 million to develop a new mine in Zambia.

Zambia is particularly well positioned to supply what the world needs. It has substantial reserves of copper and cobalt, critical metals for the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Due to their broad uses in wind and solar powered technology and electric vehicle production, these metals will play a crucial role in a low carbon future.

Copper demand is expected to increase up to threefold by 2040 while cobalt demand is expected to rise over 20 fold. Zambia has 6% of the world’s copper reserves, and the metal accounts for up to 80% of its export earnings. The coming copper boom presents Zambia with an extraordinary opportunity – to enable mining profits as well as to power inclusive growth.

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