The EU is in talks with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a major supplier of battery minerals, and seeks to have similar discussions with other African nations to secure its supply of vital raw materials, according to a statement issued on Wednesday, by an official of the European Union.
The EU’s Critical Raw Materials Act, which has not yet taken effect, set goals to create alternate sources as part of attempts to lessen dependence on China, which controls the supply of minerals required for a transition to a lower carbon economy.
As of now, the EU has agreements in place with nations like Canada, Kazakhstan, Namibia, and Ukraine, and it has been reported that agreements with Argentina and Chile are close at hand.
A group from the EU would be in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for talks in June, according to Elisabetta Sartorel, the EU’s policy officer on vital raw resources, who made the announcement during a virtual presentation to the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines annual general meeting.
“We expect, in the near future, to launch negotiations with other countries in the Great Lakes region, particularly Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, and perhaps Tanzania as well,” Elisabetta Sartorel stated.
The EU’s key materials partnerships include funding, collaboration on research and innovation, the development of infrastructure, and the improvement of skills. Following the signing of a critical materials agreement, according to Sartorel, a roadmap of specific steps is created for the European Union and the partner nation to undertake together.
However, catching up to China will be difficult for the European Union. In its essential raw materials strategy, it states that 60% of the cobalt processed in China and 63% of the world’s cobalt, which is used in batteries for electric cars, is harvested in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.