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Japan’s pledge to invest some $30bn in Africa over the next three years has underlined the Asian economic giant’s commitment to rapidly advance its relations, as well as to expand its presence, on a continent where Tokyo’s involvement has too often lagged behind other big nations.

Kenya | Egypt | Ethiopia | South Africa | Tunisia
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The Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (Bitri) is partnering with Canada’s Process Research Ortech (Pro) to set up a $80m plant to produce 30,000 t/yr of high-grade nickel and cobalt salts to be used for electric vehicle (EV) and energy storage batteries.

Botswana
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Dublin-based Kenmare Resources has appointed former Tullow Oil chief financial officer Tom Hickey as its new financial director and executive director. London Stock Exchange- and Euronext Dublin-listed Kenmare’s main focus is its titanium and zircon operation at the Moma mine in northern Mozambique.

Mozambique
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Morocco plans to promote a project to develop an electric vehicle (EV) battery plant, to be integrated with the kingdom’s existing vehicle manufacturing industry including Renault and Citroen manufacturing plants.

Morocco
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Long-term supply agreements have, to some extent, insulated the biggest battery manufacturers from commodity price inflation. However, price increases have been so extreme that some suppliers have threatened to pay termination penalties to get out of contracts if costs can’t be renegotiated.

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The global supply chain for lithium batteries is facing unprecedented challenges in the face of huge demand from electric vehicles and big spending from purchasers in wealthier markets. Compounded by supply bottlenecks, African projects face months and possibly years more of delay and price hikes, although the capacity of battery storage power projects should eventually start to climb from their very low level now.

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Australian junior Arrow Minerals has made a bold play to position itself in Guinea’s major iron ore region, agreeing with Singapore-based Amalgamated Minerals to buy into a project called Simandou North, which could piggy-back onto much bigger Simandou projects’ long-anticipated infrastructure mega-developments.

Guinea
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Vivo Energy has completed the Nampala mine solar and battery plant project in Mali for Robex Resources and has signed an agreement for work at the Kiniéro goal mine in Guinea, operated by Sycamore Mining, which Robex is taking over.

Guinea | Mali
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South32’s Hillside Aluminium and renewables provider Solana Energy have partnered to develop solar PV projects to add 2-2.5MW of electricity to the grid in Richards Bay.

South Africa
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Africa’s top copper producers have announced plans to revive joint power projects that had remained largely abandoned for over ten years.

DR Congo | Zambia
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Energy and mines minister Lamine Seydou launched construction of the Goulamina lithium development on 3 June. Work is expected to take two years at the $250m project, which reached its final investment decision in January. It is estimated the mine will make Mali the world’s third-largest producer of lithium.

Mali
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Chinese car giant BYD is reportedly in talks to purchase six lithium mines in Africa. The mines will reportedly provide BYD with 25m tonnes of ore.

Subscriber

Swedish lithium-ion battery manufacturer Polarium has started production at a 4GWh/yr battery assembly facility in Cape Town, South Africa. The plant was set up by America Tower Corporation Africa (ATC Africa), which signed a bulk purchase agreement with Polarium in 2021, having established a strategic partnership in 2017.

South Africa
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Major trading houses are among those approaching potentially hugely lucrative cobalt and other energy transition plays in Democratic Republic of Congo with an eye to ESG concerns, as international scrutiny of mining practises – and especially the huge involvement of artisanal miners – intensifies as the world looks for inputs into its new electric vehicles and batteries, write Marc Howard and AE staff.

DR Congo
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The World Bank Group’s International Centre for Settlement of International Disputes (Icsid) has ruled in the Conakry government’s favour that there was overwhelming evidence that Beny Steinmetz’s BSG Resources (BSGR) obtained mining rights for the Simandou iron ore project’s blocks 1 and 2 through corrupt practices.

Guinea