The government of Namibia said on Thursday that it has barred the export of unprocessed lithium and other vital minerals in an effort to capitalize on the rising demand for metals used in renewable energy technology worldwide.
Both lithium, which is essential for storing renewable energy, and rare earth minerals like dysprosium and terbium, which are needed for permanent magnets in the batteries of electric automobiles and wind turbines, are abundant in the southern African nation.
“Cabinet approved the prohibition of the export of certain critical minerals such as unprocessed crushed lithium ore, cobalt, manganese, graphite, and rare earth minerals,” the country’s information ministry relayed via a statement.
The country’s Ministry of Information also disclosed that only trace amounts of the listed minerals would be allowed to be exported with the mines minister’s agreement.
Namibia is a major supplier of uranium and gem-quality diamonds, but as the globe switches to renewable energy sources, interest in its battery metals is rising.
In line with the EU’s desire to lessen its reliance on China for essential minerals, Namibia and the EU reached a deal last year to provide rare earth minerals to the latter.
The Australian-listed companies Prospect Resources, Arcadia Minerals and Askari Metals, among others, are involved in important mining projects in Namibia, according to the American news agency Reuters, which provided the information for this story. Cobalt and rare earth deposits are being developed by Celsius Resources and Namibia Critical Metals, respectively.
Zimbabwe, a different producer of lithium in Africa, barred the export of lithium ore in December and only permitted the shipment of concentrates. Zimbabwe has stated that it wants the nation’s lithium miners to strive toward producing battery-grade lithium locally and that it may eventually levy a tax on lithium concentrate exports.
Source: Business Insider Africa