BHP has lent its support to Tanzanian miner Kabanga Nickel, the owner of the world’s largest ‘development-ready’ nickel sulphide deposit.
BHP will invest $US90 million ($125 million) into Kabanga across two tranches, with an initial $US40 million to be followed by a further $US50 million upon the successful agreement of documentation and satisfaction of certain conditions.
The initial $US40 million investment will give BHP an 8.9 per cent stake in Kabanga, with a total interest of 17.8 per cent possible if BHP completes the second tranche of its investment.
Alongside its support of Kabanga, BHP will invest $US10 million into Lifezone which, through its hydrometallurgical technology, will build and operate a refinery in Tanzania.
Once built, the refinery will enable the full beneficiation of metals in-country, leading to a greener, higher margin product.
BHP’s investment will enable Kabanga to accelerate the development of the namesake project, with an enhanced metallurgical drilling program to pave the way for an update of the definitive feasibility study. These studies are expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
“BHP is the ideal partner for Kabanga Nickel, bringing significant advantages and expertise that will enable us to move ahead with the project,” Kabanga chief executive officer Chris Showalter said.
“BHP’s investment reflects the project’s strong ESG (environmental, social and governance) credentials and its role in improving environmental performance throughout the nickel value chain.
“In addition, BHP’s funding support of Lifezone’s hydromet technology – the future of sustainable metals processing – will drive progress towards a greener world.”
Tanzania’s Minister of Minerals, Honourable Doto Biteko, credited the work of Kabanga Nickel in elevating the country’s economic prospects.
“Tanzania has a vision to become an important hub for critical decarbonisation minerals. I am pleased that Kabanga Nickel recognises this potential and has invested in our future,” he said.
“Thanks to the work of Kabanga Nickel, and our own natural resources, we now stand ready to help the world in the production and refining of the crucial metals that society needs, while creating skilled jobs and benefiting the economy of our country.”
Targeting a minimum annual production of 40,000 tonnes of nickel, 6000 tonnes of copper and 3000 tonnes of cobalt, first Kabanga production is anticipated in 2025.