The 2022 West African Mining Power Exhibition (Wampex) in Accra, Ghana begins today. Photo: International Mining

The West African Mining Power Exhibition (Wampex) in Accra, Ghana begins today.

Stakeholders from both the public and private sector of the mining industry will participate in workshops and panel discussions headed by industry experts. A likely point of discussion will be maximizing the operational capacity of West Africa’s mining industry, specifically as it relates to minerals used in car batteries for electric vehicles (EV). Currently, South African countries dominate the market. West Africa hopes to position itself as an additional source of critical minerals for EV batteries as global demand grows.

The market for electric vehicles is booming.  In 2021, electric car sales reached 6.6 million, double the number of sales in 2020. By 2030, electric vehicle sales are expected to reach 44 million annually. West Africa produces many of the minerals needed for the development of electric vehicles like manganese, nickel, and bauxite.

West African nations rely on their natural resources to attract foreign direct investment and boost government revenues. States will have to decide between exploiting minerals quickly and partnering with firms with lenient safety regulations or western firms with higher labor standards. They will likely prioritize African firms in order to maximize revenues in the short-term.

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