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Electric dreams

Mozambique wants to move up the battery value chain, but needs more electricity to do so

Today’s front pages in Maputo. Photo © Faizal Chauque / Zitamar News

Good afternoon. Another factory to process Mozambican graphite for electric vehicle batteries is getting moving, this time in the UK. The Teesside Freeport in the north east of the country is set to host a plant mimicking the one that graphite miner Syrah Resources has itself built in Louisiana, and Syrah has signed a non-binding agreement to enter into the project alongside a UK-based partner.

The plant will be fed with graphite mined by Syrah in Balama, Cabo Delgado. The news of the project is positive for Mozambican exports — potentially another guaranteed offtaker for Mozambican graphite — but it also again raises the question of why the processing cannot be carried out in Mozambique, too, to capture more of the graphite value chain.

That question was the topic of a paper published last November by the think tank ECDPM, which listed a number of obstacles but also policy recommendations for African countries wanting to move up the battery value chain.

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