DRC and Zambia Pursue New Horizons in Battery Supply Chain

DRC and Zambia Pursue New Horizons in Battery Supply Chain

In Kinshasa, Zambia’s Minister of Mines, Paul Chanda Kabuswe, highlighted the need for Africa to transition from exporting raw materials to processing them locally for increased value.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a dominant figure in the global cobalt market, supplying around two-thirds of the world’s needs. Both the DRC and Zambia have expressed plans to process these materials within their borders. Their ambition extends to the creation of a specialized economic zone dedicated to the battery supply chain.

The Congolese Battery Council’s vision for the DRC is grand, with the country aiming to become a primary battery producer globally by the 2030s or 2040s. There’s also potential for the DRC to venture into e-car manufacturing.

Glencore, a prominent player in the market, currently finds it feasible to produce cobalt hydroxide, a transport-friendly product.

The DRC’s blueprint for battery production doesn’t stop at cobalt. They are also eyeing the inclusion of other crucial elements like lithium, nickel, and manganese. Even though these resources are available, active extraction operations are still to commence. This opens doors for collaborations with other African nations, including Gabon, Madagascar, and Zimbabwe.

Cost assessments indicate that the DRC could establish a battery precursor production facility at a fraction of the cost seen in nations like China or the US.

However, challenges remain. Infrastructure, specialized workforce, and electricity are primary concerns. A collaborative regional approach might offer solutions.

Chinese companies, particularly CMOC, view the DRC’s ambitions positively, seeing both economic and developmental benefits.

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