Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) President Felix Tshisekedi announced that the Central African country will begin exploration operations for nickel and chrome in the Kasaï Province. Speaking in Cape Town on 7 February, President Tshisekedi said the country is seeking international and local partners to invest in the processing operations for key strategic metals such as cobalt, tantalum, tin, and lithium.
“The goal is to discover new deposits that can be the subject of calls for bids, with a view to concluding mutually profitable public-private partnerships,” he stated.
He added that exploration for the key minerals – nickel and chrome – is expected “in the next few days.”
The DRC is home to more than 50% of the world’s cobalt reserves, which serve as one of the key metals for the production of electric vehicles, thus placing the country in a strategic position to participate in the global energy transition while serving to drive socioeconomic development.
The President highlighted that improvements in the DRC’s regulatory environment and the creation of a special economic zone around lithium deposits in the southeastern portion of the country is expected to attract new investment from financiers, mining operators, equipment manufacturers, and subcontractors.
Used in batteries, solar components, wind turbines and electric vehicles, strategic metals such as copper, nickel, cobalt, and lithium will be crucial for the transition towards a clean energy future. This shift towards a clean energy system is set to drive demand for these minerals in the coming decades, with a projected demand increase of over 40% for copper, 60-70% for nickel and cobalt, and approximately 90% for lithium by 2040.