The U.S. moved this week to counter China’s control over production of electric vehicle batteries at a time of widespread concerns over global shortages of key minerals and labor abuses in African mines.
In a memorandum of understanding Wednesday, the State Department pledged to help build an EV battery supply chain in Congo and Zambia. The department and other U.S. agencies will offer technical assistance to the two countries, cooperate on feasibility studies and explore opportunities in the sector for U.S. companies, according to the MOU.
The goal is to shift Congo and Zambia from being only sites of extraction for minerals to processing, manufacturing and assembling batteries, according to the text (Energywire, Nov. 4, 2022).
“This is the future, and it is happening in [Congo] and in Zambia,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the MOU’s signing on Dec. 13. The full text was not made public by the State Department until Wednesday. The deal takes place in a region where the mining sector is of unrivaled importance for electric vehicles.
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