Japan to promote investment in Congo for stable rare mineral supply

Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japan's economy, trade and industry minister (L), and Antoinette N'Samba Kalambayi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo's mines minister

Japan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo signed an agreement Friday to cooperate in rare earth mineral mining in the African country, aiming to promote Japanese investment and expand supplies of resources critical for a wide range of consumer and industrial products.

Congo, formerly known as Zaire, has major natural deposits of rare earth minerals such as cobalt, a crucial material in lithium-ion batteries used to power electric cars and other electronics.

The Japanese government plans to encourage investment by Japanese companies in Congo’s rare earth mining sector, introducing them to business opportunities through seminars and other means while using its official development assistance aid to provide funding.

Tokyo hopes to help Japanese firms secure rights over mines in Congo and long-term procurement contracts to strengthen Japan’s rare earth supply chains, according to a Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry official.

More than 70 percent of the world’s cobalt is sourced from Congo, along with other rare minerals, though the country continues to see local conflicts over mining rights and child labor in its mining industry is rampant.

Congo’s Mines Minister Antoinette N’Samba Kalambayi, who was in Tokyo to sign the agreement, said her country will work toward ensuring its natural resources’ traceability through their supply chains alongside realizing cleaner trade.




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