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The Lithium landscape in Africa – Susa Africa Data

Africa is home to about 30 percent of the world’s mineral reserves, 12 percent of the world’s oil and 8 percent of the world’s natural gas reserves, according to the United Nations. With growing demand, proceeds from critical minerals are poised to rise significantly over the next two decades. Global revenues from the extraction of just four key minerals—copper, nickel, cobalt, and lithium—are estimated to total $16 trillion over the next 25 years, in 2023-dollar terms. Sub-Saharan Africa stands to reap over 10 percent of these cumulated revenues, which could correspond to an increase in the region’s GDP by 12 percent or more by 2050. Given the volatile nature of commodity prices and the unpredictability over the future direction of technological innovation, these estimates have a high degree of uncertainty—but the general direction is certainly encouraging.

  • Also known as the “white gold” of the renewable energy revolution, lithium is a key component of the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power everything from cellphones to electric cars. Such batteries are also vital for storing energy produced by clean energy like solar or wind if the world is to make the break from fossil fuels. As a result, the search for Lithium has moved to Africa and is already being extensively mined in Zimbabwe, Namibia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, and Ghana.
  • Lithium-ion batteries dominate the EV market and represent about 49% of the global rechargeable battery market. Many of the minerals needed to produce them, including cobalt, lithium, manganese, nickel and graphite are available in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, South Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania or Gabon among others. The DRC alone is estimated to have several million tonnes of lithium reserves. More is to come: the current confirmed mineral resources in Africa could be a tip of the iceberg.
  • This is because similar geological formations on the continent which have the potential for further discoveries, are yet to be explored, and current exploration efforts continue to make discoveries. Zimbabwe is considered to hold Africa’s largest reserved of lithium – a reported one-fifth – while China is the biggest consumer of the mineral, as the leading manufacturer of new energy sources in the form of batteries for solar energy, electronics and electric vehicles.

Read Also: Australia: A Sustainable Model for the African Mining Industry

Lithium resources in Africa

Tonnage multiplied by grade (% Li2O)

Dem. Rep. Congo

  • Manono – 6,684,300
  • Manono Tailings – 72,000


  • Ewoyaa – 378,588
  • Egyasimanku Hill – 24,600


  • Goulamina -1,570,000
  • Bougouni – 236,500


  • Uis – 450,265
  • Bitterwasser – 116,000
  • Karibib – 59,870
  • Uis Tailings – 53,280


  • Arcadia – 775,200
  • Bikita – 456,238
  • Zulu – 213,195
  • Kamativi -154,600

Note: Only code-compliant lithium resources are shown.

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