Prime Minister Theresa May’s political judgment is often questioned, but her desire to boost Britain’s investment and trade with Africa makes perfect sense for business. The continent’s resources will play an increasingly essential role in vital new industries such as the growth of electric vehicles (EVs) in passenger transport. Putting Britain at the front of the queue is vital. Although May made scant reference to the importance of Africa’s vast resources in her Cape Town speech this week, securing access to the region’s rich seams of ore is vital. S&P Global Platts Analytics estimates there will be more than 300m electric vehicles in a global passenger fleet of 1.7 bn cars by 2040. A large proportion of the minerals and metals required to build this new climate-friendly breed of vehicles will co me from Africa’s major resource producers. Consequently, demand for Africa’s energy minerals is expected to surge as the shift to EVs gathers pace. For example, consumption of cobalt – used to produce the batteries that power electric vehicles – is expected to triple to more than 300,000m tons per year by 2030. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the world’s largest supplier, providing two-thirds of the market. It’s not just cobalt, which is required in ever increasing quantities for the nascent energy transition that is getting under way to become a permanent reality. Copper demand is expected to surge too. Each electric vehicle on the roads is expected to require an additional 90 kilos (198lbs) of the highly conductive, ductile metal, compared with an equivalent internal combustion engine car. Zambia, the DRC and South Africa are major suppliers but all require investment.
Telegraph 1st Sept 2018 read more »