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June 24, 2024
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Jean-Marie Kanda Advocates for DRC’s Sovereignty in Developing Strategic Minerals

European countries and others have set ambitious targets to transition to electric mobility by 2035, with electric batteries being a cornerstone of this endeavor. These batteries consist of lithium and other vital minerals found in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). However, the DRC faces challenges in fully leveraging its strategic mineral wealth, as foreign mining companies currently hold significant control over these resources.

At an energy conference held on Thursday, May 9, 2024, experts emphasized the need for the DRC to assert its sovereignty and swiftly adapt to capitalize on its mineral wealth.

Jean-Marie Kanda, Director General of the African Center of Excellence for Batteries (CAEB), stressed the urgency of developing a strategic plan and policy framework to secure the DRC’s position in the battery value chain.

Established in April 2022, CAEB, affiliated with the Polytechnic Faculty of the University of Lubumbashi, aims to spearhead research, innovation, and training in battery technology.

It forms a crucial part of the DRC’s broader initiative to establish a Battery Council and a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for battery manufacturing in Haut-Katanga.

Mylor Shutcha, an environmentalist, highlighted the environmental risks associated with mineral extraction, urging sustainable management practices to mitigate pollution and protect biodiversity. He emphasized the need for the DRC to invest in cleaner mining technologies to minimize its carbon footprint.

Gustav Isaksson from the Swedish Embassy underscored the importance of sustainable investments, emphasizing environmental stewardship, transparency, and respect for human rights. He emphasized the need for collaboration between the government, businesses, and universities to advance the mining sector while ensuring responsible practices and knowledge exchange.

Ultimately, experts emphasized that a reliable energy supply is crucial for the successful implementation of projects such as electric battery manufacturing.

By addressing governance, environmental, and social concerns while fostering collaboration and innovation, the DRC can unlock the full potential of its strategic minerals to drive sustainable development and contribute to the global energy transition.

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