Africa

With metal prices down, which minerals will pave Africa’s development?

08 Feb 2016

Plunging metal prices have put a group of lesser known ‘Neglected Development Minerals’ into the spotlight. This week thousands of executives, financiers, prospectors, investors and government officials will descend on Cape Town, South Africa for the 'Investing in African Mining Indaba.' Cape Town is not the centre of African mining, but for a week each year in February, it temporarily becomes the mining capital of the world. Companies pitch their projects, governments pitch the attractiveness of their geological (and regulatory) terrain and civil society organisations make their own pitch, that of caution, at their Alternative Mining Indaba. Over recent years the atmosphere at Indaba has been buoyant. Metal prices began a steady ascent around 2003 and save for a steep, yet brief, dip following the GFC, prices stayed high for more than a decade. The cyclicity of global commodity prices is a widely appreciated phenomena, but the apparent long-term demand for metals by China, and to a lesser extent, India, as part of an ‘Asian Century,’ led many to believe that a ‘super-cycle’ of high prices would last for many years. At his keynote address at Indaba in 2014, development economist, Sir Paul Collier, observed that high metal prices had created a ‘decade of discovery’, arguing that the combination … Read more

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