KoBold Metals to Invest USD 150M in Zambia

The Californian mining firm KoBold Metals committed to invest USD150 million to develop the Mingomba copper-cobalt mine in Zambia. The announcement was made during the US-Africa Business Forum which forms part of the US-Africa Leaders Summit (#UALS2) which took place in Washington DC from 13 to 15 December 2022.

It is worth noting that KoBold is financed by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, which was founded by Microsoft’s Bill Gates and is also backed by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Virgin’s Richard Branson.

The Mingomba project is a joint venture between Australian private equity firm EMR Capital and the state-owned Zambian Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM). KoBold agreed to pay USD 115 million for a 80% stake in Mingomba mine. In addition, KoBold will inject another USD 35 million to process the minerals.

The Mingomba mine is said to have reserves of 247 millions tonnes containing 3.64% of copper, which is considered high-grade. The mineral also contains cobalt and KoBold plans to apply the latest #AI technology to process exploration data and optimize the mining process.

At the same time, the US and EU are joining hands to refurbish and upgrade the Benguela Rail Line which is part of the #LobitoCorridor. Eventually, the minerals mined in Zambia should be shipped efficiently via the #LobitoCorridor.

Intervening during the pitch at the US-Africa Business Forum, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema underlined the need for local value addition (#LVA) in order for Africa to break away from the ‘resource curse.’ Rather than exporting critical minerals for the manufacturing of batteries for Electric Vehicles (#EV), Africa should move to encourage local production of #lithium batteries on the continent and gradually develop a complete ecosystem around car manufacturing.

President Hichilema expressed the wish to see his country’s production ramp up to 3 million tonnes per annum by 2032 compared to only 0.8 million tonnes in 2022. With its world-renowned #Copperbelt, Zambia is currently Africa’s second largest copper producer.