Global Business Reports (GBR) is delighted to return to Zambia, the DRC and Angola to investigate the latest developments in the region across the value chain of the mining industry. Only this time, for the eighth edition of the Mining in Africa Country Investment Guide (MACIG), the industry and the whole world battles a health crisis with consequences on commodity prices and supply chain continuity.
MACIG has endeavoured to fill a void in the African mining industry by providing independent first-hand research and analysis on the continent’s mining industry since 2014. Overwhelmingly our research conducted throughout 2020 suggests that the Copperbelt has been less impacted by the pandemic relative to other leading copper mining jurisdictions. The impact on the region has largely been indirect as a result of lockdowns in South Africa and China. Closures in China shocked demand in Q1 – Q2 of 2020, making copper the worst performing base metal in Q1. China’s rampant appetite post-Covid-19 then allowed the metal to strongly rebound to its highest price since 2013.
The backbone of the Congolese and Zambian economies remains mining, namely: copper and cobalt. The DRC continues to dominate the cobalt mining market, and comfortably wears the crown of Africa’s top copper producer since 2013. As demand for battery metals is forecast to increase in the next decade, the region will continue to attract further investment, especially as investors are wary of supply shortages. The ongoing bullish appetite for gold is also enhancing exploration and production for gold mining in both Zambia and the DRC.
Meanwhile Angola, traditionally an oil-based economy, is determined to unleash its mining potential under the country’s new Governance Model for the mining sector. The nation’s ambitious vision is underway to elevate its status as a diamond producer. This year has been challenging, however, as the country confronts the shock of the Covid-19 pandemic, a subsequent collapse of diamond sales and fall in oil prices, which we investigate under the Angola focus chapter. Diamonds have witnessed a challenging decade with the growth of the synthetic diamond market and an overall negative demand trend, which the industry is attempting to reverse as the market targets growth prospects in the fast-growing segments and leverages blockchain technology.
Each country has its unique challenges and character that shapes opportunities in the sector, but across all three countries, power generation, sovereign debt, infrastructural challenges and poverty persist and restrict growth. However, progress is evident as the region is increasingly investing in hydropower and construction, while attempting to promote inclusive development.
We would like to extend our gratitude to all our interviewees, governments, major and junior players, service-sector companies and financial institutions, for taking the time to give their insights on operating in the Copperbelt region and Angola.