South Africa Sign Electric Batteries Deal with DRC

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Presidents Cyril Ramaphosa and Felix Tshisekedi agree on exploring electric batteries deal during a bilateral business forum in Kinshasa. The agreement will see the revival of the 11GW Inga 3 hydropower project on the Congo River.

DRC’s plentiful lithium mineral reserves form production of electric batteries as an excellent cooperation area between South Africa and DRC.

Importantly, lithium helps make lithium-ion batteries which are key component of the fast rising electric vehicles industry. Lithium is also widely used in powering the roughly $500 billion smartphone industry. Additionally, it makes portable electronics such as laptops, a market which is worth about $160 billion. Analysts’ project that electric vehicles market will cross $850 billion in 2027.

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Importantly, constructing a 10,000 metric tonne cathode precursor factory would cost $39 million in Africa. This is three times less expensive than what a comparable factory in the US would cost. Additionally, a similar factory in China or Poland will cost around $112 million and $65 million, respectively.

Significance of electric batteries manufacturing to the growth of Africa continent

“DRC has equally important role to play in the future of our continent, with its minerals propelling the new green industrial revolution.” President Ramaphosa said.

“It is for this reason that we want to see more South African companies investing in the DRC, and likewise to see more Congolese companies investing in the South African economy,” Ramaphosa said on Thursday, July 6th.

Additionally, power from Inga 3 was set for export to South Africa and use in mines in the eastern DRC. The World Bank left the project, nevertheless, claiming “strategic differences” in 2016.

Further, the Inga 3 project will also become a reality thanks to the fresh bilateral agreements. The World Bank supported Inga 3 project, which is located on the Congo River and aims to generate 11GW of power. The grand project was announced in 2013.