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Rainbow Earths CEO confident Burundi rare earths’ dispute will be resolved

By David Whitehouse
Posted on Tuesday, 22 June 2021 15:49, updated on Thursday, 22 July 2021 12:23

Burundi's President Evariste Ndayishimiye will discuss terms for the Gakara rare earths project with Rainbow CEO George Bennett. REUTERS/Evrard Ngendakumana

Rainbow Earths CEO George Bennett flies to Burundi early next month, confident that his meeting with President Evariste Ndayishimiye will lead to agreement on the terms for operating Africa’s only rare earths mine.

The project at Gakara is “definitely going to work,” Bennett tells The Africa Report from Johannesburg. The discussions concern the mining convention covering royalties and tax, he says, adding that the company’s good relationship with the government gives him confidence. “Burundi is a very good resource and a very good project.”

Rare earths are crucial to energy transition as they are needed for magnets used in hybrid and electric vehicles, as well as wind power turbines. According to an International Energy Agency (IEA) report that was released in May, global demand for rare earths may rise by three to seven times by 2040.