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The low-carbon economy of the future depends on mining and, in turn, the future of mining largely depends on the exploration for and discovery of new mineral deposits. The African continent remains a treasure chest of green metals and minerals and has significant reserves of platinum cobalt, chromium and other battery metals. Despite this, Africa trails far behind when it comes to exploration spend, making it the last untapped mineral-rich continent.

The Investing in African Mining Indaba 2024, taking place in Cape Town from 5 to 8 February, will host a new and exciting Disruptive Discussion panel on the 5th, titled “Africa exploration pipelines – why so empty?”. The highly anticipated session, which is a first of its kind, will look at how we can address the major prohibitors to exploration spend on the continent – such as political instability, safety concerns and a lack of transparent data.

It will also examine the radical change needed to ensure Africa meets the global demand for critical minerals required to drive the planet’s green transformation and provide insight into African countries that are defying the limited exploration trend and why.

Africa holds 30% of the world’s mineral reserves and, as of 2022, counts for less than 10% of the global mining exploration spend. According to S&P Global’s World Exploration Trends 2023, exploration allocations on the continent increased by 11.6%, less than the global average. Africa’s vast unexplored mineral wealth makes the continent all the more critical in the race to secure the supplies needed to achieve decarbonisation and to meet the global demand for critical minerals.

“The race is on to secure critical minerals that contribute toward the overarching need to deliver a low-carbon economy,” says Investing in African Mining Indaba portfolio director, Eve Harper. “Disruptive conversations on how to open the gates to exploration in Africa are a key feature for Mining Indaba 2024. We will have strong representation from government leaders and investors, all contributing their ideas to support the development of critical minerals industries on the continent. Importantly, our discussions will explore how Africa can best leverage its minerals for sustainable development while contributing toward global needs.”

The high-level speaker list for this session are Junior and Emerging Miners Leadership Forum chairperson, Orion Minerals CEO and Minerals Council Board member, Errol Smart; Kobold Minerals co-Founder and president, Josh Goldman; Ivanhoe Mines president Marna Cloete; and De Beers Group CEO, Al Cook. The panel will be moderated by BHP Xplor vice-president, Sonia Scarselli.

The exploration panel comes off the back of a highly successful debut of the Explorer’s Showcase, which was introduced at Mining Indaba 2023. The initiative aims to spotlight exploration and drive investment into African mining at the early stages. The Explorer’s Showcase is returning to Mining Indaba 2024 to shed further light on exploration and the early development of mining companies with assets across Africa.

Explorers will be able to gain access to an elite network of dealmakers to help raise finance or find the right partner to advance their project. With the support of BHP Xplor, private and/or unlisted and listed mineral exploration companies with a market capitalisation of no more than $25 million will be showcased at the heart of the exhibition floor of Mining Indaba.

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