The presence of a very senior US delegation at the upcoming Investing in African Mining Indaba underlines how vital the African mining industry is becoming to the global energy transition and critical mineral supply, says event director Simon Ford.
“We’re honoured and thrilled to have US Special Presidential Coordinator Amos Hochstein and Under Secretary Jose Fernandez attending,” said Ford. “I think that really emphasises the importance the US are putting on how they want to develop their relationships with the African mining sector, and how important it is to secure critical mineral supply chains.”
Talking to Africa Legal ahead of Mining Indaba 2023, being held in Cape Town from 6-9 February, Ford expects energy transition, battery minerals, and geopolitical volatility to be among the “big points of discussion” at this, the world’s largest mining investment conference.
There will be several major presentations on energy transition metals and minerals during this year’s Indaba, noted Ford, including “a really good panel on day one” involving Demetrios Papathanasiou of the World Bank and David Sturmes of Fair Cobalt Alliance.
“We see Africa playing a very strong role to support the global energy shift and efforts to decarbonise. It will be a massive topic for us to be spoken about across the week,” he commented.
Historic perceptions of mining are shifting. Ford noted that there’s an ever-growing recognition of how critical the industry is to global development and all the net-zero goals, decarbonising energy transition, and shifts towards renewable power and electric vehicles.
“Mining Indaba is a great opportunity to connect and discuss all the opportunities and challenges facing the industry,” he said. “Mining doesn’t come without its issues and need for community engagement. That’s certainly something we never shy away from at Mining Indaba. I think we’ve got a really exciting show to look forward to next month.”
On the back of a “bumper year” in 2022, returning following COVID disruptions, next month’s Mining Indaba will be even “bigger and better”, says Ford. The exhibition is sold out again, even with a larger footprint, and is on track to surpass 7 000 delegates comprising investors, governments, mining companies and service providers.
Exciting additions include the Infratech Stage and the Explorers Showcase. “The Infratech Stage is new for 2023 and puts the spotlight on infrastructure developments and the application of technology to reduce rising costs and help improve production,” explained Ford. “We’re particularly excited about the launch of the Explorers Showcase, which is creating a lot of buzz for investors and early-stage exploration companies.”
The Indaba is a special event, says Ford, as it brings together stakeholders from across the mining value chain, from government ministers to private sector CEOs, investors and service providers. Onsite collaboration has led to policy developments, public-private partnerships, developing mining sites and getting new contracts signed.
“It makes a real positive difference to the industry,” Ford elaborated. “We’re an event based in Africa, for Africa, but really the impact of what we do is felt far wider than Africa. And what’s coming out of Africa is having a hugely positive impact on the rest of the world.”
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