Given their pivotal role in the green economy future of mining, there has been an ever growing demand for battery metals. With the DRC endowed with these minerals, the country needs a platform for dialogue on how to leverage the demand.

VUKA Group Mining: events director SAMUKELO MADLABANE unpacks the timeous DRC-Africa Battery Metals Forum to be held in September 2023.

The DRC-Africa Battery Metals Forum is the prime engagement platform for cobalt, lithium and nickel producers, traders, investors and NGOs in Africa. The event will take place from 12–13 September 2023, at the Pullman Kinshasa Grand Hotel, Kinshasa DRC.

“In an effort to curb the effects of climate change, the world needs to go through an energy transition that will be driven largely by battery metals. The theme of the conference will be Creating wealth for the DRC and Africa’s battery metals industry value chain,” says Madlabane.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has given the continent renewed hope and it unlocks new opportunities, such as local beneficiation. Madlabane further states that according to a Bloomberg study, it would be financially more reasonable to produce batteries in the DRC and in other African countries rather than producing them in China. “The birth of this conference was the perfect storm, the conditions are just right,” adds Madlabane.

VUKA Group has a long-standing relationship with the DRC National Ministry of Mines, with the ministry supporting the DRC Mining Week for years. For the DRC-Africa Battery Metals Forum, the DRC National Ministry of Mines has indicated that they are willing to support the conference but will be handing over the reins to the Ministry of Industry.

“The DRC Ministry of Industry has been tasked by the government to build a battery metals industry in Africa, with a state-owned firm processing some of the battery minerals in the country and other African countries playing various roles in the value chain,” states Madlabane.

Other than for investors, the DRC-Africa Battery Metals Forum is the must attend forum for the cobalt, copper, lithium, nickel, graphite, manganese, rare earths and 3T producers as well as battery makers, traders, investors and NGOs in Africa.

Madlabane says there is a need to ensure that as the DRC builds this new industry, that it does so in an inclusive and equitable manner that underpins broad-based sustainable growth, local beneficiation and socio-economic development, and it is critical to have all these players in the room to make sure it happens in that manner.

“The forum serves as a gathering place for the DRC’s government, mining corporations, important players, technology providers, and end users to promote debate about defining and establishing a new industry,” concludes Madlabane.

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