South Africa is hosting the annual Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town, a gathering of top executives from transnational oil companies and heads of state whose countries’ economies depend on the mining sector, including President Félix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone.
One of the top concerns at this year’s Mining Indaba is making the mining sector more energy-efficient and eco-friendly, as global investors are moving away from heavy industry and toward cleaner sectors. This is causing mining companies to lose billions in financing. Efforts to make mines run on renewable energy is one example of attempts to lure back investors.
For Africa especially, the drying up of funding for capital-intensive projects involved in mining poses a great risk. There are several countries on the continent where more than half the population are without a consistent electricity supply. Coal-to-power projects could in the past rely on support from development finance institutions, but even they are withdrawing as the focus shifts to renewable energy.