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US looks to Africa to diversify supply chain for critical minerals

Increasingly concerned over their vulnerability to China and Russia, Western powers and their allies banded together this spring to ensure that critical minerals are mined and processed in a way that promotes high environmental, social and governance standards. Launched at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada convention in Toronto this June, the Minerals Security Partnership brings together the US, Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, the UK and the European Commission.

On 22 September, on the margins of the UN General Assembly, the US gathered these partners together along with mineral-rich countries looking to benefit from developed countries’ funding and know-how in order to step up the processing of rare earths domestically. Five African countries made it to the invite list: The Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia.

“We’ve got to diversify our supply chains, and for them it’s a development opportunity,” Jose Fernandez, the under secretary of state for economic growth, energy, and the environment, tells The Africa Report.

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