Graphite resources, and their potential to support battery supply chains, in Africa

Mitchell, Clive ORCID:; Deady, Eimear. 2021 Graphite resources, and their potential to support battery supply chains, in Africa. British Geological Survey, 30pp. (OR/21/039) (Unpublished)

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Decarbonisation of energy and transport, to meet global net zero ambitions, will require significantly increased amounts of the raw materials used to manufacture batteries and other green technologies. This report focuses specifically on graphite, one of the major battery raw materials, for which demand is expected to grow rapidly in the coming decades. Graphite supply chains are complex and commonly global in their extent, with steps that include exploration, mining, processing, manufacturing, use and recycling. The continent of Africa has significant graphite resources, which may provide an opportunity for many African countries to contribute to meeting increased demand whilst also supporting economic growth. This report reviews known resources of graphite and engagement in the battery supply chain across key African countries. Many African countries (most notably Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania and Namibia) have significant graphite resources and some operating graphite mines. However, there is much less engagement in critical stages further along the supply chain. Currently, Africa has no capacity for the production of specialist products such as spherical graphite or manufacture of battery components. This leads to a typical situation where mineral concentrate is exported; value is added outside Africa; and products using graphite are then imported. There is clear potential for Africa’s graphite resources to make a greater economic contribution, but this should be placed in the context of the wider supply chain; in particular, the potential for regional cooperation on the production of spherical graphite deserves further consideration. There is currently limited data on the specific socio-economic and environmental impacts of graphite mining. Development of new graphite mines across Africa will be most successful if good governance, human rights, and minimising environmental impacts are all considered as priorities.

Item Type: Publication - Report (Technical Report)
Funders/Sponsors: British Geological Survey
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This item has been internally reviewed, but not externally peer-reviewed.
Additional Keywords: graphite, Africa, battery raw materials, critical raw materials, industrial minerals
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 28 Sep 2021 14:12 +0 (UTC)

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