NEWS | August 9, 2023
Robert Habeck knows this well, as he signed a memorandum of understanding with South Africa’s Minister of Electricity, Dr. Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, on Tuesday. In this agreement, the two politicians have committed to enhanced cooperation in the realm of green hydrogen.
South Africa is an ideal partner for this initiative, given its abundance of platinum metals. These metals are crucial for electrolysis in green hydrogen production, as well as for renewable energy applications. The country boasts favorable conditions for the latter due to its ample sunlight and vast open spaces for wind farms. (We reported: https://noble-bc.de/insights/sudafrika-im-land-der-wasserstoff-metalle) The agreement envisions closer collaboration between the two nations across the entire value chain of green hydrogen – from generation and application to transportation. Additionally, the agreement seeks to facilitate market access. Habeck emphasizes the importance of mutual benefit for both countries.
The groundwork for this memorandum was laid by Habeck during his 5-day visit to South Africa last year. His visit aimed to advance the energy transition and diversify German energy and resource supply to reduce dependence on China. Habeck is joining the effort somewhat belatedly, as China has already invested in Africa’s economy, infrastructure, and development assistance to secure access to resources.
Nonetheless, the current South African government is not exclusively focused on China and seeks dialogue with Europe, offering opportunities. This collaboration could potentially extend into the realm of rare earth elements: The mine in Steenkampskraal, recently inspected by our management, contains ore with the world’s highest concentration of rare earth elements. Leveraging the abundant renewable energy resources and a newly developed Norwegian processing method, the mine owners aim to produce rare earth elements in the most environmentally friendly way possible. The negotiations are ongoing, and possibilities abound. Decisive investors might find this an opportune moment.
Through South Africa, we could secure a new potential supplier for the platinum group metals – platinum, palladium, iridium, and ruthenium – that are essential for hydrogen production. Additionally, the mine could yield the four rare earth elements – neodymium oxide, terbium oxide, praseodymium oxide, and dysprosium oxide – crucial for wind turbine construction. All of these resources, except for iridium, are available through Noble BC. Given the growing demand for these materials, prices are likely to rise. An investment presents an opportunity for attractive returns, which are also tax-free.