Japan, Zambia to Boost Cooperation in Mineral Discovery

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, in November 2020

Japan will expand cooperation with Zambia in the exploration of minerals essential for electric vehicles and other products as part of efforts to secure key resources, the government has said.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura and Zambia’s Mines and Mineral Development Minister Paul Kabuswe signed a joint declaration in Lusaka on Friday to strengthen cooperation in the mining sector.

The Japanese government plans to strengthen the supply chain for key minerals by supporting the development of mines, an often burdensome undertaking, through government-led initiatives to encourage Japanese companies to expand into Africa.

The exploration project will focus on copper produced in the south-central African country, as well as other key minerals such as cobalt and nickel, which are used as raw materials for EV batteries.

The two countries agreed to conduct exploration across Zambia using high-performance sensors mounted on Japanese satellites.

During Nishimura’s visit to Africa, both the Democratic Republic of Congo and Namibia have also agreed to cooperate with Japan in the exploration of key minerals and the establishment of supply networks.

With China expanding its investments in Africa to acquire raw materials, Japan also intends to promote Japanese investment in Zambia from the perspective of economic security.

A public-private conference on mining investment was also held in Zambia, and was attended by 11 companies, including Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Nissan Motor Co. and Toyota Tsusho Corp.

“There is a growing trend among resource-rich countries toward diversifying the economy and avoiding dependency on any one country,” Nishimura said at a press conference. “We would like build mutually beneficial relationships through such support as human resources development, and thereby secure important minerals.”