China zooms in on Latin America, Africa in critical minerals race, says report – by Jackson Chen (Northern Miner – August 30, 2023)

Facing more restrictive foreign investment policies in developed markets, China is expected to continue building its influence over key minerals such as lithium and cobalt across the developing world, according to S&P Global.

In a recent report, the U.S. data analytics firm stated that “China’s reach is quietly growing behind minerals critical to a wide range of products that will shape the future,” with firms from upstream to downstream, from miners to battery makers to electric vehicle manufacturers, all jumping into this race.

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First They Mined for the Atomic Bomb. Now They’re Mining for E.V.s. – by Roger Peet (The New Republic – August 30, 2023)

Miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo face few protections in the global rush for metals for the energy transition—as well as a toxic legacy from a previous rush to mine for nuclear weapons.

Serge Langunu is a graduate student in botany at the University of Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In May, he and I were sitting on a bench in the parking lot of a hospital just outside Lubumbashi’s downtown, looking at photos of plants on his laptop.

I met Langunu at the hospital to see an experimental plot of metal-loving plants cultivated by the university’s agronomy department. This understated garden was growing in the shadow of a massive chimney, looming across the street in the mostly abandoned grounds of the old copper smelter named after the state mining corporation, Gécamines.

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Gabon Coup Underscores Country’s Role as Key Manganese Supplier – by Mark Burton and Francois de Beaupuy (Bloomberg News – August 30, 2023)

(Bloomberg) — The coup in Gabon risks roiling global supplies of a key industrial metal, as the operator of the world’s largest manganese mine halts production as a precautionary measure.

While African nation is better known as an oil producer, Paris-based miner Eramet SA has been investing heavily in expanding manganese output in recent years.

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Court challenge to 30-year extension of West Coast diamond mining rights – by John Yeld (Mail & Guardian – August 28, 2023)


Legal action that could profoundly impact the future regulation of mining in South Africa, in particular environmental approvals and public participation, is scheduled to start in the Western Cape High Court this week.

On Tuesday, the first part of an application will be heard challenging the awarding of 30-year extensions to ten diamond mining rights on the West Coast held by the Trans Hex group. The applicants are environmental non-profit organisation Protect the West Coast, two groups of small-scale fishers from Doringbaai and the Olifants River estuary, and two individual fishers from Doringbaai.

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In Quest for Battery Metals, U.S. Takes On Cobalt’s ‘Inconvenient Truth’ – by Alexandra Wexler and Yusuf Khan (Wall Street Journal – August 24, 2023)

U.S. officials are offering grants to companies willing to support workers in Congo’s dangerous informal mining sector

The U.S. is turning to a much-criticized source as it races to secure supplies of battery metals to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles. To do so, it is homing in on cobalt from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s informal mining sector, where miners, sometimes including children, often work with no safety equipment in dangerous, hand-dug mines.

Congo supplies around 70% of the world’s cobalt, a key metal in the lithium-ion batteries used in EVs, with about a third of that coming from these so-called artisanal miners.

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Wagner in Africa: the impact of Prighozin’s presumed death – by Philipp Sandner ( – August 24, 2023)

Russia’s presence in Africa depends heavily on the Wagner Group, headed by Yevgeny Prighozin. But now there is uncertainty about the private military’s role after his apparent death in a plane crash in Russia.

Russia’s influence in Africa is intertwined with the mercenary activities of the Wagner Group in various countries, particularly in West and Central Africa. Next to China, Russia has become the main global player exerting its influence on the continent through aid and economic development, but also through trade and military cooperation.

But following reports that Wagner’s leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, might have died in a plane crash in Russia, many now wonder if military support from Russia in Africa will remain unchanged.

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Inconvenient truth: Green energy is the colour of Congolese blood – by Gerry Chidiac (Troy Media – August 24, 2023)

The toxic truth behind “green energy” technologies, cobalt, and the exploitation of the Congo

If there’s a hell, it’s a teenage mother with a sick child strapped to her back, breaking rocks and putting them into a sack while she and her baby breathe in toxic dust. If she’s lucky, she’ll make a dollar or two and they will buy something to eat. They will both be dead in less than a year.

This is not a dystopian fantasy. This is the reality for an artisan cobalt miner in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). She is the one who gathers the minerals needed so you can recharge your smartphone, your laptop, your headphones, and your shiny electric vehicle.

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Lucara unearths 692 carat diamond at Karowe mine in Botswana – by Amanda Stutt ( Mining Journal – August 22, 2023)

Lucara Diamond (TSX: LUC) has recovered a 692.3 carat diamond from its 100% owned Karowe diamond mine in Botswana.

Lucara Diamond (TSX: LUC) has recovered a 692.3 carat diamond from its 100% owned Karowe diamond mine in Botswana. The diamond, measuring 46.5 x 40.7 x 28.4 mm is described as a Type IIa high white gem, recovered from the South Lobe.

The diamond represents the fourth +300 carat diamond recovered year to date and shortly follows on the recovery of the 1,080 carat Type IIa white top gem earlier in August. The other three notable recoveries since 2015 include the 1,758 carat Sewelô (2019), a 1,174-carat diamond (2021), and the 1,109 carat Lesedi La Rona (2015).

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Japan testing China’s hold on African minerals – by Scott Foster (Asia Times – August 22, 2023)


Japan official secures agreements in five African nations in move aimed at mitigating Tokyo’s reliance on China for key minerals

TOKYO – Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura has spent a week visiting five countries in southern Africa with Ichiro Takahara, chairman and CEO of the state’s Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security (JOGMEC).

Prior to his departure, Nishimura told Japan’s Sankei Shimbun newspaper that he aimed to secure access to important minerals including rare earths, cobalt, lithium and nickel during the trip.

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Momentum builds for Piedmont Lithium’s ambitious production plans as portfolio expands in Africa – by Amanda Stutt ( – August 18, 2023)

Piedmont Lithium (Nasdaq: PLL; ASX: PLL) this week acquired a 22.5% stake in Atlantic Lithium’s (ASX: A11) flagship Ewoyaa project in Ghana after committing $17 million to fund the project through its definitive feasibility study, adding an Africa asset to its expanding portfolio of operations.

It completed the second stage of the investment agreement signed in 2021. Under the deal, Piedmont can earn a 50% equity interest in Atlantic’s Ghanaian lithium portfolio, headlined by the Ewoyaa project. The first stage involved a $15 million investment into Atlantic, previously IronRidge Resources.

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How Important is Niger’s Uranium For France? – by Elias Ferrer Breda (Forbes Magazine – August 16, 2023)

Since a military coup d’état took place in Niamey on July 23rd, there have been many commentaries on its strategic significance for the former colonial overlord. France sources a significant portion of its much-needed uranium from Niger, and also has a military presence in the Sahelian country. The political troubles in Niamey are undoubtedly of interest in Paris.

Soon after the military takeover, a rumor spread that Niger had banned uranium exports to France, although this has been proven false — the idea, however, may have been floated around. This allegation would also entail that Niger would have denied France its most-prized source of uranium ore. For a brief moment, let’s consider just how important is the resource for the government in the Élysée, and more broadly for the energy needs of the French.

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Race to Control Electric-Vehicle Supply Chains Leads to Africa – by Alexandra Wexler (Wall Street Journal – August 16, 2023)

To bypass China, Western companies are investing in facilities to process battery metals in countries such as Tanzania, Mauritius and South Africa

JOHANNESBURG—Pressure to create supply chains for electric-vehicle batteries that bypass China is prompting Western miners to do something they have long avoided: process their metals in Africa.

China dominates both the production and processing of critical minerals such as cobalt and lithium that are key to the energy transition. That has led to growing concerns among Western governments, including in Washington, about their dependence on Beijing.

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Wagner’s mercenaries swap Ukrainian trenches for natural resources in Africa – by Javier G. Cuesta (El Pais – August 14, 2023)

In Saint Petersburg, the gigantic PMC Wagner Center sign no longer hangs in the majestic building at 15 Zolnaya Street (or Ash Street, in English). The mercenaries’ short-lived mutiny against the Kremlin — which took place on June 23 and 24 — couldn’t be punished by Vladimir Putin, since the organization continues to be essential for his interests. However, he has forced its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, to alter the objectives of his private military company.

As the address of its public headquarters insinuates, only ashes remain from the memory of the paramilitary army, which made headlines in the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut. Now, the old Wagner — which was created by Moscow a decade ago to undertake covert operations in far-away lands — has been reborn. Following Ukraine, Africa and its natural resources have become the main objectives of the paramilitary group.

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Lucara Diamond to replace CEO Eira Thomas – by Staff ( – August 14, 2023)

Lucara Diamond (TSX: LUC) announced Monday the company will appoint William Lamb as president and chief executive officer and a director, replacing Eira Thomas.

Thomas co-founded Lucara in 2007 with partners Lukas Lundin and Catherine McLeod-Seltzer and took on the role of president and CEO in 2018. The company did not specify a date for the intended leadership transition.

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Coal still has role to play despite naysayers, Menar MD tells conference – by Cameron Mackay (Mining Weekly – August 15, 2023)

Resources investment company Menar MD Vuslat Bayoglu has emphasised that South Africa is on the precipice of a significant industrial revolution.

Fuelling this revolution, however, will require a consistent and reliable baseload power source that can only be produced by coal-fired power stations, despite calls from more developed countries for South Africa to reduce its coal-fired power station capacity to achieve sustainability and carbon dioxide emission reduction goals, he said on the first day of the Southern African Coal Processing Society International Coal Conference, in Secunda, Mpumalanga, on August 15.

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