Time to realize Africa’s mining potential: Hichilema
By Ndanatsiwa Tagwireyi
Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema has implored mining players to put Africa’s mining potential into practical realization, a move that he says will contribute significantly in scaling up many people out of extreme poverty.
Addressing delegates at the Investing in African Mining Indaba held in May 2022 at Cape Town International Convention Center, President Hichilema noted that minerals must be exploited strategically. The Indaba was held under the theme, ‘Evolution of African Mining: Investing in Energy Transition, Environmental Social and Governance (ESG), and Economies.’’
“Our continent is blessed with vast mineral resources that are key drivers of the development agenda, most importantly, DRC and Zambia hold over 70% of the world’s resources in the area of cobalt,” Zambian President said. “In Zambia we have taken a strong decision that we are tired of talking about Africa’s potential, we don’t want to hear someone in our country, hopefully on the continent sing the song of potential, we want to realize that potential to drive development and alleviate poverty amongst our people.”
In his address, Hichilema noted that the energy transition and unprecedented technological advancements are anchored by minerals and other resources while pinpointing that Africa should not accept that it does not have enough power to drive the mining sector and other industries.
“The development of infrastructure including in areas such as power, logistics, transport, communication, significant investment in research, technology and development among others also remains critical to our development agenda with mining being integral to that agenda”
The Zambian leader also cited the need to invest in exploration in order to fully discover the vast resources in the continent. His sentiments were also echoed by the president of Botswana Mokgweetsi Masisi when he called on mining players in Africa to explore untapped mineral resources in his country. South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa also touched on the importance of mineral exploration.
“Our continent is endowed with vast mineral resources that largely remain undiscovered because we are not investing in exploration and even when they are discovered, they remain unexploited and our people live in abject poverty,” Hichilema noted
“We are committed to mobilizing necessary resources and providing incentives for a new wave of exploration particularly on the minerals required for the global energy transition,” Ramaphosa said
High level officials who attended the 2022 Investing in African Mining Indaba also underscored the importance of beneficiation of minerals in the realization of Africa’s mining potential.
“Africa needs to beneficiate its mineral endowments for the benefit of the current and future generations, South Africa’s President said adding that: “We need to develop a Southern African beneficiation pull so that we harness all our technology and resources and make sure that we are going to harvest the best benefits going into the future as we are the real hub of mining possibly in the whole world as Southern Africa.”