BHP to invest $50 m into Kabanga Nickel project in Tanzania

BHP, a world leading resources company, has invested $40 million into Kabanga Nickel Limited, a UK registered private company which is developing the Kabanga Nickel Project in Tanzania, the largest development-ready nickel sulphide deposit in the world.

Located in western Tanzania, the project has contained in-situ nickel equivalent resources estimated at 1.86 million tonnes and an in-situ nickel equivalent grade of 3.44 per cent.
BHP has also invested $10 million into Lifezone Limited to advance the roll-out of its patented hydrometallurgical technologies. Lifezone hydromet is more cost-efficient than smelting, has a significantly lower environmental impact, and will ensure that finished Class 1 battery grade nickel, copper and cobalt will be produced in Tanzania.
HP has agreed to make future investments in Kabanga Nickel subject to certain conditions, including a second tranche of $50 million and the right for BHP to make further investment subject to achieving certain agreed milestones.
The project proposes to achieve full beneficiation of battery grade metals without smelting in Tanzania. The government of Tanzania has a 16 per cent interest through local partnership entity, Tembo Nickel Corporation; Kabanga Nickel Ltd (UK) holds the balance.
Project timeline anticipates first production in 2025, targeting minimum annual nickel equivalent production of 65,000 tonnes, with 30+ years life of mine and exploration upside potential.
“BHP’s investment reflects the project’s strong ESG 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. Through development of Kabanga and Lifezone hydromet, Tanzania will have a growing role in the supply of the battery metals needed to move to a global low carbon economy,” Chris Showalter, Kabanga Nickel CEO, said.
BHP’s investment in Kabanga Nickel will support an acceleration in the mine’s development, including an enhanced metallurgical drilling programme to enable update of the definitive feasibility study and support the construction plans for the hydromet refinery. These studies are expected to be completed by the end of 2022. Site and infrastructure development is already underway. The investment will also support hiring and training of local Tanzanian talent.
The investment into Lifezone allows for new patent applications as well as R&D work that will further commercialise the Lifezone hydrometallurgical technology. Lifezone currently has patents granted in over 150 countries. Hydrometallurgy, already in operation at various operations around the world, is becoming increasingly attractive to produce base and precious metals. Crucially, it has lower energy consumption and a smaller environmental footprint.
The current project development timeline anticipates first production in 2025. Output will ramp up to target a minimum annual production of 40,000 tonnes of nickel, 6,000 tonnes of copper and 3,000 tonnes of cobalt.