At the beginning of August, Siemens hosted the three-day virtual “Smart Mining Africa Forum”. The motto of the event: “On the road to the digital future”. Sabine Dall’Omo, CEO Siemens South- and Eastafrica, says in her keynote speech “With this forum, we want to promote the exchange of knowledge and focus more attention on the diverse opportunities offered by new technologies.” Above all, however, even if Dall’Omo does not explicitly mention this, Siemens wants to recommend itself as a competent partner in Africa in the still young field of Smart Mining . The African continent was not chosen by chance as the center of the Siemens Forum. Dall’Omo herself emphasizes that the extraction of raw materials is one of the most important drivers of the African economy.
But that’s not all: the world’s increasing hunger for raw materials is forcing industries and corporations to become increasingly geoeconomically diversified. Hardly any future technology can do without mineral raw materials or strategic metals and rare earths. Only at the beginning of May the International Energy Agency (IEA) presented a study in which it calculates the growing demand for mineral raw materials that would be necessary solely for the implementation of the global energy transition. IEA chief Fatih Birol points to a “growing discrepancy” between the increasingly stringent climate targets on the one hand and the availability of critical minerals and rare earths on the other, which are essential for achieving these goals. This is one of the reasons why the EU intends to present an action plan for securing raw materials for the first time in the coming weeks.
China is still the world’s largest supplier of raw materials. Especially in the case of rare earths, the Chinese quasi-monopoly repeatedly causes turbulence on the world markets. According to the German Raw Materials Agency (DERA), South Africa is also one of the world’s most important producers of metallic raw materials and industrial minerals. Around three quarters of the raw materials extracted in South Africa are exported. According to DERA, the export of strategically important raw materials such as platinum, but also the steel finishers chromium, manganese and vanadium play a special role. But the potential is far from exhausted on the entire continent. According to Mining Weekly, Africa has 30 percent of the world’s mineral resources, but only accounts for 15 percent of global production. Mining Weekly quotes regional Siemens CEO Dall’Omo as saying that Africa is “full of mineral resources, but not yet sufficiently capitalized on these resources.”
The intensified focus of the industries no longer applies to South Africa alone. In Tanzania, for example, the new Ngulla Project is to develop the extensive neodymium-praseodymium deposits in the south of the country, writes the news portal Rohstoff.net. The Australian company Peak Resources is about to receive the appropriate license for mining in Tanzania.