[imagesource: thesouthafrican.com / Luke Daniel]
Most April Fools’ Day jokes are garbage, and news sites trying to dupe a gullible public have struggled in the midst of what seems to be a constant stream of actual, real idiocy from our world leaders.
We wrote about the so-called death of April Fools’ earlier this year, and how the spread of actual fake news has made writing a ‘joke’ story less fun than it used to be.
Still, that didn’t stop some outlets from having a go, including Smart Energy International, a website that delivers smart utility news and analysis to more than 200 countries.
On April 1 of this year, they ran a story headlined “Miracle new mineral to revolutionise battery storage“.
Here’s some of that obvious pisstake:
The Cape Town-based Institute of Energy Research has announced that researchers have discovered a new mineral element which will allow them to produce batteries at a tenth of the current price.
The mineral, Hazenile, when combined with traditional lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (LiNiMnCoO2 or NMC), increases energy density, lifespan of the battery and lowers the likelihood of fire to near zero.
Jan van der Merwe, head researcher at the Institute, says: “This discovery is one that will change the world. Hazenile, the active element of the battery, a close relative of the Fingerite, a rare earth metal made up of vanadium and copper. We believe this is a bigger discovery than unobtainium.”
Hazenile, meanwhile, has been discovered in abudance in the area between the Crypte and Throne Room caves in the Congo Caves complex in the Western Cape province of South Africa.
Right – a bigger discovery than unobtainium, found in abundance in the ‘Congo Caves’, referencing Cango Caves, and another reason to know that this is a prank.
Still thinking this one could have slipped you by? How about the bit in red, that appears at the top of the article:
What kind of a fool would fall for this utter nonsense? Enter Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, addressing the annual Mining Down Under conference in Perth last week Wednesday.
Over to Fin24:
Mantashe promoted the non-existent mineral “hazenile” to investors…
The minister mentioned “hazenile” in the same breath as battery minerals lithium, graphite and cobalt, saying it had recently been discovered in the Congo Caves in the Western Cape, according to a version of his speech uploaded by Mining Review Africa…
A departmental spokesperson told Business Day it was unfortunate that the speech’s focus was being shifted to “what has now been confirmed as fake news” based on a site that usually carries reliable information.
You know what’s unfortunate? Our Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy falling for this, on the world stage. How truly, and deeply embarrassing.
Not only could they not deduce that hazenile doesn’t exist, but they couldn’t even correctly name the caves.
During his address, the minister said there was no country that can match South Africa in terms of mineral diversity offerings, adding the country was “open for business”. “As we continue discovering new minerals, we grow the prospects of mining in South Africa.”
It’s easy to discover new minerals when you make them up, pal.
Mantashe has reportedly blamed junior advisers for the error, which is standard practice for an ANC politician caught looking the fool, and the go-to response when you can’t blame your social media being hacked.
Great stuff, Gwede – we expect much investment from Down Under.
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