BHP Group Invests $40M in Tanzania’s Nickel Project

Kabanga Nickel, a UK-based private company, announced on Monday that Anglo-Australian mining company, BHP Group, has invested $40 million in a Tanzania nickel project, the first new investment by the world’s biggest miner in Africa for years.

The company has not been active in Africa since it spun off South32 in 2015, but CEO Mike Henry recently hinted at a willingness to venture into “tougher jurisdictions”.

Kabanga intends to begin producing nickel, copper, and cobalt in 2025 with a minimum annual output of 40,000 tonnes of nickel, 6,000 tonnes of copper, and 3,000 tonnes of cobalt. The demand for nickel, a key component in electric vehicle batteries, is expected to increase.

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The investment secures BHP access to a world-class nickel sulphide resource and aligns with its strategy to capture value in commodities of the future.

Last month, BHP lost out to billionaire Andrew Forrest’s Wyloo Metals in the race to buy Noront Resources Ltd.

Kabanga said that BHP’s investment will speed up the mine’s development, with a plan for constructing a refinery and a definitive feasibility study expected to be completed before the end of the year.

BHP also invested $10 million in hydrometallurgical technology company Lifezone Limited. Kabanga said the hydromet technology will be used in a refinery to produce metal in a more sustainable manner than energy-intensive smelting.

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Upon meeting conditions, BHP will hold an 8.9% stake in Kabanga, Kabanga said in a statement. BHP plans to invest a further $50 million, valuing the project at $658 million and increasing its stake to 17.8%.

Kabanga’s plan to produce metal in the country reflects Tanzania’s desire to get more value from its minerals.

Tanzania aims to be an important hub for critical decarbonisation minerals, according to minister Doto Biteko.

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