May 13, 2022
Mr. Iwata Kazuchika, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, visited the Republic of South Africa from May 9 (Mon.) to 11 (Wed.).
He attended Mining Indaba 2022 during his visit, where he gave a keynote speech and attended bilateral meetings aimed at promoting cooperation between Japan and African countries in the mining field. He also pushed for cooperation on the stable supply and development of mineral resources and improvements in the investment environment. Additionally, he requested that companies running Africa-based projects dealing with palladium, other rare metals, and base metals speed up their resource development and provide stable supplies of these resources to Japan.
1. Attending Mining Indaba 2022
Parliamentary Vice-Minister Iwata attended Mining Indaba 2022, the world's largest mining investment conference—held in Cape Town, Republic of South Africa—which brings together government officials, investors, and resource-related companies from Africa, the US, Europe, and Asia. There, he worked to further strengthen ties between Japan and Africa's resource-rich countries in the mining field.
More specifically, he gave the keynote speech at a seminar held by the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) and shared Japan's interest in developing mineral resources that could assist in decarbonization. He also met with ministers and other leaders from the Republic of South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Zambia, and other countries involved in the resources field. Beyond that, he met with the local mining industry association and foreign resource companies that run Africa-based projects dealing with palladium, other rare metals, and base metals in order to strengthen cooperative relationships with them. An overview is given below.
2. Outline of the keynote speech at the JOGMEC seminar
During Mr. Iwata's speech, he shared Japan's determination to contribute to achieving worldwide carbon neutrality by shifting to electric vehicles, along with the country's interest in mineral resources that are abundant in Africa—such as platinum group metals and cobalt—that could be used to achieve that goal. He also pointed out Japanese companies' efforts to secure stable supplies and the potential within Africa's mineral resources, and he then expressed his determination to contribute to Africa's sustainable development by building a win-win relationship between these two entities.
Keynote speech at the JOGMEC seminar at Mining INDABA 2022
3. Meeting with Mr. Ebrahim Patel, South Africa's Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition
At the meeting with Mr. Patel, South Africa's Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, the ministers exchanged views on bilateral economic cooperation and other topics. Parliamentary Vice-Minister Iwata introduced measures that support Japanese companies expanding into Africa and called for Minister Patel's cooperation to improve the business environment. Minister Patel made concrete proposals regarding bilateral economic cooperation. Both leaders agreed to cooperate in order to hold a Japan-South Africa business forum in the near future.
4. Meeting with Dr. Nobuhle Pamela Nkabane, South Africa's Deputy Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources
At the meeting, Deputy Minister Nkabane expressed her expectations for Japan's further investments in the metal mining field and for the platinum group metals project that Japan is taking part in.
Parliamentary Vice-Minister Iwata talked about Africa's importance in the metal mining field, called for JOGMEC and the Council for Geoscience (CGS) to sign an MOC that would deepen cooperation between them, and requested cooperation on both securing a palladium supply and on the metal and mineral resources project that Japan is taking part in. He also pointed out the deepening cooperative relationship between their two countries and the need to improve the investment environment.
Finally, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Iwata also proposed that the two countries should further strengthen their cooperative relationship to work toward the Eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD8), scheduled to be held in August 2022.
Deputy Minister Nkabane expressed South Africa's hopes for deeper cooperation moving forward, starting with the signing of an MOU between JOGMEC and South Africa's CGS.
To end their meeting, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Iwata, Deputy Minister Nkabane, and H. E. Mr. Norio Maruyama, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of South Africa, attended the signing of the MOC between JOGMEC and CGS.
Meeting with Dr. Nobuhle Nkabane, South Africa's Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy
Attending the signing ceremony for the MOC between JOGMEC and the Republic of South Africa's CGS
5. Meeting with Ms. Antoinette N'Samba Kalambayi, the Democratic Republic of Congo's Minister of Mines
At the meeting with Minister N'Samba, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Iwata touched on the prospects of the Democratic Republic of Congo's mineral resources and proposed that their two countries jointly hold a mining seminar, which would aim to ramp up investments in the Democratic Republic of Congo's mineral resources and provide Japan with a stable supply of said resources.
Minister N'Samba expressed her gratitude for his proposal. As a matter of interest, she requested cooperation on investigating metal mineral resources. Parliamentary Vice-Minister Iwata responded that Japan may be able to cooperate on that.
6. Meeting with Mr. Paul Chanda Kabuswe, the Republic of Zambia's Minister of Mines and Mineral Development
At the meeting with Minister Kabuswe, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Iwata noted Japanese companies' interest in the Republic of Zambia's mineral resources and proposed that their two countries jointly hold a mining seminar. Minister Kabuswe responded by expressing his intention to exchange information via the seminar and improve his country's investment environment, and he welcomed Japanese companies to invest.
7. Meeting with Mr. Kris Begic, Vice President of Platinum Group Metals Ltd.
Parliamentary Vice-Minister Iwata talked with several resource companies at Mining Indaba 2022. One such company related to platinum group metals was Platinum Group Metals Ltd., which JOGMEC is working with on a support and joint venture project in Limpopo Province in the Republic of South Africa.
Along with Platinum Group Metals Ltd., JOGMEC is working with other partner companies involved in this project to discuss how to develop the Waterberg PGM Project.
At this meeting, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Iwata exchanged views with the company's vice president on the project—which the company and JOGMEC have been working together to move forward—specifically regarding speeding up development on projects aimed at creating a stable supply of palladium, a platinum group metal. After the meeting Parliamentary Vice-Minister Iwata and Ambassador Maruyama attended the signing of the MOU between JOGMEC and PTM, which confirms that they will speed up discussions on financing to develop the aforementioned projects in order to support palladium supply in the future. This will lead to speeding up development for projects that can contribute to Japan receiving a stable supply of palladium.
Division in ChargeMineral and Natural Resources Division, Natural Resources and Fuel Department, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy
Africa Office, Trade Policy Bureau