"We strongly advocate for free markets, limited government control, and energy growth."

NJ Ayuk

EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, AFRICAN ENERGY CHAMBER

January 12, 2024

Can you introduce the African Energy Chamber (AEC) and give an overview of the company’s main missions?

The African Energy Chamber (AEC) is one of the largest energy organizations in the continent, representing most of the private sector and state-owned entities. We strongly advocate for free markets, limited government control, and energy growth. Making energy poverty history has become a cornerstone of what the AEC stands for. We believe in free markets where business is put back into business people’s hands and is not controlled by politicians. We have been able to build a massive following and are proud that there is a generation in Africa that is advocating these issues. 

Can you present the Africa Common Sense Energy Agenda and its main takeaways? 

Africa's Common Sense Energy Agenda is based on the principle that we must have common sense when we are discussing the energy transition to really have a just transition. This means that pragmatism will have to govern, and you cannot have extreme forces on either side of the spectrum, whether it is pro-fossil fuels or anti-fossil fuels, driving the agenda. The agenda looks at business and the country’s fiscal terms. Today, we are not competing for capital between South Africa and Zimbabwe, but rather between South Africa and Canada, Argentina or Brazil, and therefore, your fiscal terms must be good, your enabling environment ready to attract business. 

We also must take active steps to promote women in energy. The commonsense agenda is also about using all energies available as we are still dealing with 600 million people who have no access to electricity and 900 million who have no access to clean cooking technologies, most of them women. When we have pragmatic common-sense solutions to Africa's problems, we win as we are part of a global community working towards common goals. 

What are the current challenges faced by African miners? 

The first part of 2023 has been rocky and African miners are still being faced with the challenges of financing their operations. Another challenge is that of permitting, and we need to move permits and licenses faster through the process to get mining projects approved. Investors go where they are welcomed. Africa’s fiscal frameworks and permits have slowed us down, but we have amazing opportunities in the mining industry across the continent and we need to fast-track Africa’s comeback.  

Where do you believe the next big story in Africa will come from?  

The DRC is a continent on its own and is the most untapped and underexplored mining empire in the world. There is significant potential in the DRC, and, sadly, geopolitical and political tensions have held the country and its mining industry back. Zambia is moving extremely fast in developing its mining industry and the current president is emphasizing good governance. The government is putting money in the game, which is something we do not see in many African countries. The country has peace, stability, security, good governance, and an enabling environment, and I believe we will soon see something big coming from the Zambian copper belt. 

What is your view on South Africa and the country’s potential to leverage its mineral resources to address the current energy crisis?

Although South Africa is facing many challenges, I believe the country’s best days are yet to come. South Africa is experiencing load shedding where there are power cuts for parts of the day, but this challenge also poses an opportunity where there is an off-grid revolution happening in the country. Although solar is helping people be less reliant on the grid, you still need baseload power, which can only come from natural gas or coal. The country is trying to transition away from coal, and natural gas might be the solution when building more sustainable energy solutions. 

Critical minerals required for the energy transition are all available in South Africa, but the country needs to impose legislation that will create an enabling environment, and they also need to look at how we are going to build localized supply chains within and around South Africa. Keeping the value within Africa will not only be economically beneficial but will create jobs and contribute to the social development of many countries on the continent. I believe the best is yet to come, but we should focus on leadership, pragmatism and establishing downstream markets, capturing the value within the continent to benefit local communities. 

INTERVIEWS MORE INTERVIEWS

"In terms of commodities, G Mining is seeing the most activity in the gold, copper, and lithium areas. Gold will always do well, especially given the large increases in the money supply over the past two to three years."
"The quickest and most environmentally friendly way governments can fast-track their understanding of their country’s natural capital is by mapping from the air – this has the lowest carbon and community impact while delivering the fastest results."
"The government's initiatives to encourage exploration through airborne geophysics programs and policy reforms reflect a positive shift."
"We are preparing to launch a new resin injection and bolting system globally. This innovation allows us to inject liquid resin instead of other cementitious alternatives, improving both productivity cycles and safety."

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Chile Mining 2024 Pre-Release

The Chilean mining renaissance has begun. In 2024, the country is set to experience its first increase in copper production since 2018, driven by Codelco’s production surge and Teck Resources’ Quebrada Blanca II coming online. This year also saw the first major regulatory update since 1983 with amendments to Law No. 21,420, which modernized the mining framework. The government has shown strong support for the industry by committing to reduce permit processing times by a third and proposing 20 actionable measures to streamline processes. Additionally, Chile classified its 69 saline environments, leaving 31 open for private development and initiating a request for information process in April to rapidly advance these areas.

MORE PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED

MACIG

"We plan to double our copper production by the end of the decade. There remains significant upside potential in the gold industry, and the copper operations are strategic and additive to that."

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER