Economic & Industrial

US backs Angola plan to process critical minerals

US backs Angola plan to process critical minerals
The US is backing Angola’s efforts to diversify from being an oil-dependent economy to becoming a critical-minerals processor and exporter of clean power, according to a top official.

“Angola and the United States are aligned on all the major points related to energy access, energy security, decarbonization, and critical minerals,” US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Geoffrey Pyatt said at an online media briefing Tuesday.

The southern African nation, one of the top crude producers on the continent, has become a focus for the US in its campaign to secure critical minerals such as copper as it competes against China. The US Export-Import Bank has earmarked billions of dollars in clean-energy projects to bolster capacity in the country that plans to sell excess electricity across the region.

Pyatt last week visited the capital, Luanda, and met with the nation’s oil and energy ministers. The officials discussed the construction of transmission and grid interconnection infrastructure needed for Angola to become “a larger energy exporter to the rest of sub-Saharan Africa,” he said, according to a transcript of the remarks.

Ex-Im closed a $900 million loan for solar farms in Angola built by US developer Sun Africa, “which is committed to using non-Chinese components,” according to Pyatt. The bank’s board referred to Congress for notification a $1.6 billion project with the same developer to construct mini-grids and clean water projects across the country.

Angola is also interested in developing downstream processing infrastructure for critical minerals, he said, adding that the US-backed Minerals Security Partnership Forum brings producers and customers to find potential financing opportunities from the US, European Union and others, to realize such projects.

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