Rare Earths: Japan Plans to Build Value Chain in Africa

by | 3. Aug 2023 - 15:01 | Politics

Joint exploration in various African nations could begin this year.

To strengthen its supply chains, Japan intends to sign various agreements on critical raw materials on the African continent, Nikkei Asia reports (Paywall). The news portal has information that the Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security (JOGMEC) is planning various partnerships, including one on rare earth metals with Namibia’s state-owned Epangelo Mining Company.

With these contracts, the Asian island state intends to be involved in the development of mines in African countries at an early stage. The raw materials are to be imported after they have been mined and processed locally, Nikkei Asia added. By importing from Africa, Japan aims to secure the need for critical minerals to expand its electric mobility and diversify its supply chains, as well as counterbalance China’s investments in African nations. To make itself less dependent on the People’s Republic, the island nation is also seeking agreements in other regions of the world. Recently, for example, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida traveled to Saudi Arabia for this purpose (we reported). Japan has long been working to strengthen its economic security and is considered a role model for European countries, including Germany.

In addition to Namibia, Japan is also planning agreements with Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, including on copper, cobalt, and lithium, according to the news portal. The signatures could now take place on the planned trip of Japan’s minister for economy, trade and industry Yasutoshi Nishimura to several African countries.

Photo: iStock/inkoly

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