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Wood Mackenzie's vision: 'Super region' proposes Africa, Middle East and South Asia as global leaders in energy transition with $400bn minerals roadmap

Wood Mackenzie, in collaboration with the Future Minerals Forum, has unveiled a white paper proposing the creation of a minerals “Super Region” comprising Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia. This initiative is positioned to significantly contribute to a successful energy transition by establishing the Super Region as a global leader in minerals and clean energy technologies production.

The white paper, titled ‘How can the Super Region enable the energy transition?’ estimates a need for approximately US $400 billion in capital expenditure by 2030 for mining, refining, and smelting of critical minerals. This investment is deemed essential to bridge the supply-demand gap and limit global temperature increases to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Africa, with its vast mineral resources including 79% of global cobalt reserves, 44% of global manganese, and 21% of global graphite, emerges as a key player in the Super Region. However, challenges such as an immature financial ecosystem and underdeveloped infrastructure pose hurdles.

The Middle East is identified as a potential financial and experiential hub, offering solutions to some of Africa’s challenges. With sovereign wealth funds controlling trillions of dollars and experience in foreign investments, the Middle East can play a pivotal role. Despite being a major oil producer, the region lacks significant reserves and production of crucial minerals like cobalt, nickel, lithium, and graphite.

South Asia, while lacking the financial strength of the Middle East and the abundant natural resources of Africa, is identified as the Super Region’s demand and manufacturing hub. India, as the most heavily populated region globally, is expected to add 152 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2020, fostering substantial growth in mineral demand.

The white paper emphasizes the need for collaboration across resources, capital, demand, and capabilities to unlock the Super Region’s potential, making it a formidable force in metals and mining, countering China’s dominance in the energy transition ecosystem.


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