On 9-12 May, ERG took part in Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa. At the conference, the Group shared its vision for the development of resilient supply chains for critical minerals in Africa and highlighted the importance of an even distribution of value from the clean energy transition between developed and developing countries. ERG also outlined its role in facilitating this and presented the multi-stakeholder initiatives founded by the Group, while inviting stakeholders to cooperate on working towards a sustainable future for all.
The ERG delegation at the conference included Mr Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of ERG, Mr Sergei Verbitckii, Acting CEO of ERG Africa, Mr Jonathan Cordero, the Group’s Head of Corporate Development, Mr Giles Smith, ERG’s Marketing Director Copper and Cobalt, Ms Alexandra Schneider, Head of Communications at ERG Africa, Francois Le Roux, Chief Mining Engineer at ERG Africa, Ian Hendry, Project Director of ERG Africa, and Martin Ackermann, Head of Development Assets at ERG Africa.
ERG representatives participated in the ERG corporate presentation and the panel sessions ‘Copper, Cobalt, Nickel, Tin, Rare Earths: Battery Metals and their role in the Energy Transition’ and ‘Green Metals & the COP26 Challenge – supplying the critical building-blocks to drive the massive technological energy transition’.
At the ERG corporate presentation, Mr Sobotka outlined how the Group is spearheading efforts to support the supply of critical battery materials and safeguard global value chains through cross sector initiatives such as the Global Battery Alliance (GBA), where ERG is a founding member, and which convenes more than 100 international organisations. ERG is also working with other key industry players including China Molybdenum, Glencore, Umicore, and Tesla as part of Re|Source, a blockchain solution to trace responsibly produced cobalt from the mine to the electric vehicle. Mr Sobotka also presented ERG’s major assets, including Metalkol RTR, which can now produce 21,000 mtpa of cobalt, making it the world’s second largest standalone cobalt producer, and Frontier mine which had a record year in 2021, producing more than 100,000 tonnes of copper.
Speaking at the panel session ‘Copper, Cobalt, Nickel, Tin, Rare Earths: Battery Metals and their role in the Energy Transition’, Mr Sobotka highlighted the major role that the DRC and Africa will inevitably play on the road to carbon neutrality. ERG’s CEO pointed out that while it is commonly known that 70 percent of the world’s cobalt is produced in the DRC, it is less widely discussed that almost all the battery quality cobalt originates in the country. Despite this, he argued, the nation doesn’t always get the value from these resources it should, and this needs to change. In order for this to happen, Mr. Sobotka emphasised that the mining sector must work collaboratively to develop logistical infrastructure as well infrastructure needed for battery materials and the energy transition.
Jonathan Cordero spoke at the panel session ‘Green Metals & the COP26 Challenge – supplying the critical building-blocks to drive the massive technological energy transition’. Mr. Cordero spoke about the wider global challenges and opportunities associated with delivering on demand for materials of the future. He envisaged supply chain crunches caused by issues including the long-lead time on developing new mining projects, logistical disruptions due to events in Ukraine and continued lockdowns in countries like China, and the global surge in energy prices, noting that these problems will be exacerbated by the extraordinary demand for battery metals, driven by a dramatic rise in EV sales, which should continue throughout 2022.
The conference provided a great opportunity for ERG to engage with key stakeholders on the African continent and to reaffirm its commitment to developing responsible and robust supply chains while supporting the clean energy transition.