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U.S. Eyes Africa for Strategic Minerals to Counter China and Russia

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louis Buyisiwe

Mar 16, 2024

Africa a mineral target

"Photo of advanced mining machinery at the Marikana platinum mine in South Africa, showcasing the high-tech equipment used to extract critical minerals essential for the global energy transition and technology sectors.
On the Russian front, the U.S. seeks to leverage South Africa's palladium production to reduce dependency on Russian imports

In a strategic move to diminish reliance on Chinese and Russian resources, the United States is turning its attention to Africa for vital battery metals and minerals. U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo emphasized the importance of diversifying supply chains during his visit to a platinum mine in Marikana, South Africa. The mine is operated by Sibanye-Stillwater, a key player in the mining sector.

The backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic and geopolitical tensions has intensified the West's efforts to secure independent and stable supply chains. The U.S., although proactive with domestic incentives under the Inflation Reduction Act, acknowledges Africa's critical role due to its rich mineral reserves. This pivot is essential for the U.S. to maintain pace in the global energy transition, especially in the electric vehicle and renewable energy sectors.

China's dominant position, underscored by significant investments in African mining projects, presents a challenge. However, the U.S. is committed to creating favorable market conditions through the International Development Finance Corporation, aiming to encourage private investments in African mining.

On the Russian front, the U.S. seeks to leverage South Africa's palladium production to reduce dependency on Russian imports, crucial for the automotive industry. This approach not only addresses supply chain vulnerabilities but also aligns with broader geopolitical strategies to hold nations accountable for destabilizing actions.

The U.S. government is exploring various support mechanisms, including financial incentives and trade adjustments, to bolster domestic and African mining enterprises. This collaborative effort aims to establish a more resilient and diversified global mineral supply chain.

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