The SAIMM is a professional institute with local and international links aimed at assisting members source information about technological developments in the mining, metallurgical and related sectors.
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The intensified search over the past decade for alternatives to fossil-fuels as stores of energy has led to an exponential growth in the demand for batteries and research into battery technologies. The largest application by far has been in transportation, followed by electrical distribution grids.

Of the raw materials required for battery manufacture, metals such as cobalt, manganese and vanadium are highly concentrated in southern Africa. The supply of lithium, on the other hand, is concentrated in Australia, Chile and Argentine.

These activities have created both opportunities and challenges. Opportunities such as new value chains for the associated raw materials, with several production companies with battery-material metals in their plant feedstocks undertaking research towards producing battery-grade products. And challenges such as the means for recycling these batteries once they reach the end of their (first) life.