A Resurgence of Resource Nationalism Across the Continent

Last week, Sierra Leone abruptly cancelled an iron ore mining license with Gerald Group, a metals trader, “with immediate effect”. The action is the latest in a string of disputes between governments and mining companies in Africa, which is home to rich resources of iron ore, copper, gold and diamonds. A number of African governments are working to right what many see as historic imbalances in favor of foreign companies rooted in colonialism and to readdress contracts signed at earlier stages of certain economic cycles. Commodity prices have rebounded since the end of the China-driven boom in 2015, with increased use of metals, including cobalt and copper, in renewable energy technologies such as batteries and wind turbines.  The Sierra Leonean government’s actions came as iron ore prices remain elevated at $94.5 a metric ton, having surged to a five-year high above $125 earlier this year.


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