Namibia has banned the export of unprocessed lithium and other critical minerals, the government announced on Thursday, as it seeks to profit from growing global demand for metals used in clean energy technologies.
The southern African country has significant deposits of lithium, which is vital for renewable energy storage, as well as rare earth minerals such as dysprosium and terbium needed for permanent magnets in the batteries of electric cars and wind turbines.
Only small quantities of the specified minerals would be allowed, after approval by the mines minister, it said.
Namibia is one of the top global producers of uranium and gem-quality diamonds, but its battery metals are attracting growing interest as the world shifts away from polluting fuels to renewable energy.
Last year, Namibia signed an agreement to supply rare earth minerals to the European Union under the bloc’s plan to reduce its reliance on China for critical minerals.