WASHINGTON, DC - Mineral resources are a critical source of revenue for Africa.1 In 2019, minerals and fossil fuels accounted for more than a third of exports from at least 60 percent of African countries. The continent produces around 80 percent of the world’s platinum, two-thirds of its cobalt, half of its manganese, and a substantial amount of chromium, leaving it in a strong position to benefit from growing demand for these minerals.2 Not only that, Africa is believed to have some of the world’s largest untapped mineral reserves.
Unfortunately, a lack of systematic geological mapping and exploration means that the full scope of the continent’s resources remains unknown. To unlock mineral-rich African countries’ full potential, mining companies and African governments must embrace Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies. Artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and Big Data can help mining firms limit damage to the environment, improve working conditions, reduce operating costs, and boost productivity.3
The adoption of efficient renewable-energy systems already is helping the mining sector reduce its environmental impact.4 AutonomoThe content herein is subject to copyright by Project Syndicate. All rights reserved. The content of the services is owned or licensed to The Yuan. The copying or storing of any content for anything other than personal use is expressly prohibited without prior written permission from The Yuan, or the copyright holder identified in the copyright notice contained in the content.