Energy Extraction Politics in the Renewable Age
Emerging market economies in a post-oil era might find themselves in the same traps when mining for the necessary metals.
1. While certainly not the most geopolitically challenging rechargeable battery ingredient, manganese is an example of how certain economic and political problems associated with oil wealth might persist under renewables.
2. At the moment, the leading producer-countries for manganese are South Africa, China and Australia.
3. However, the locations of the largest manganese reserves in the world (as opposed to the current largest producers) are not without risk.
4. Reserve countries South Africa, Ukraine and Brazil are all mature emerging markets with young democracies.
5. They also all struggle with endemic corruption at the highest levels, which is often raw material-related.
6. Another African nation, Gabon, the world’s fourth-largest manganese producer, is also an example of resource exploitation and corruption like South Africa.
7. The country became independent in late 1960 and barely three years later experienced a military coup. One family has ruled Gabon continuously from 1967 to present.
8. Despite huge oil revenues flowing into the country for decades, little of the wealth made it to ordinary citizens.
9. Gabon’s oil is about to run out, but the mining of rechargeable battery materials offers a continued path forward for the ruling family, along with timber exports.
Sources: Investing News, The Globalist Research Center