Source: Africa Press Organisation – English (2) – Report:
LUANDA, Angola, February 6, 2024/APO Group/ —
With the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in October 2022 between HE Diamantino Pedro Azevedo, Minister of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas of the Republic of Angola and Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Barbknecht, Rector of the Freiberg University of Mines and Technology, negotiations began for the implementation of a scholarship program for Angolan students at the University.
After a working visit by a delegation from the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas (MIREMPET) to the University last week, negotiations are now taking place at cruising speed. The visiting delegation was led by Eng. Domingos Francisco, MIREMPET National Director for Training and Local Content, and included the participation of SONANGOL EP, represented by Prof. Dr. Orlando da Mata, President of the Board of Directors of the SONANGOL EP Research and Development Center.
Freiberg University of Mining and Technology is one of the best universities in the world, specializing in mining, geosciences and related specialties. It was ranked 5th in Europe in the 2022 QS World University Ranking by discipline (“Mining and Mineral Engineering” category).
In addition to its formidable academic and research offerings, the University is located in a highly industrialized part of the German state of Saxony, which allows it to develop strong collaborations with many high-tech companies, such as Infineon Technologies. This proximity allows students to get involved in real-life projects from an early age. It is expected that this will lead to a significant transfer of technology to the Angolan mining sector through students who will be able to benefit from the scholarship program starting from September 2024.
Initially, the Ministry is committed to awarding full scholarships to up to 15 Master’s students in various disciplines, including Advanced Mineral Resource Development, geosciences, mechanical and process engineering, metallic materials technology, and sustainable mining. Students will be pre-selected by the Ministry following a transparent and rigorous process, overseen by an independent committee. However, students will have to meet the University’s admission criteria before they can fully qualify for the scholarship.
Angola’s mining sector is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, as global demand for multiple minerals and rare earths is expected to grow in line with the growing demand for battery minerals and other strategic minerals. Currently, the exploration and production of diamonds represents around 90% of total mining revenue in Angola. However, this is expected to change. As the world continues to strive towards energy transition, battery minerals such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, manganese, aluminium, tin and tantalum, among others, are expected to grow exponentially.
Mining company Rio Tinto signed an agreement last month in Luanda with the Angolan Government to acquire a concession to mine basic metals, including copper, cobalt, zinc, titanium and aluminium in the Angolan province of Moxico. This follows a similar agreement signed between the government of Angola and mining major Ivanhoe to prospect and develop copper in the provinces of Moxico and Cuando Cubango. In 2022, South Africa’s De Beers Group signed a Mineral Investment Agreement with the government of Angola to re-enter the country and prospect for diamonds.
The aforementioned agreements attest to the significant interest in Angola’s mining sector following recent industry reforms introduced by the government, under the leadership of His Excellency João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, President of the Republic of Angola.
To meet the growing demand for qualified personnel in a changing mining environment, and in line with the government’s policy of focusing on the development and education of Angolan youth, MIREMPET has intensified its scholarship programs in recent years, together with partners, to send hundreds of deserving young Angolans annually to prestigious universities for further studies. The Freiberg University of Mining and Technology scholarship program is expected to contribute to providing the qualified graduates needed to lead Angola’s mining sector into the future.
The scholarship program is also proof of the strong relationship between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of Angola since the visit to Luanda by then-German Chancellor, Dr. Angela Merkel in 2020. The scholarship agreement is also expected to further strengthen German-Angolan relations and attract German companies to invest in Angola’s mining sector.
The upcoming Angola Oil & Gas (AOG) conference (https://apo-opa.co/4945xwG) — taking place this October and organized by Energy Capital & Power — will focus on local content and workforce development within Angola’s energy and mining industries. AOG 2024 serves as the premier platform uniting Angola’s energy stakeholders, policymakers and partners to maximize trade and investment opportunities.