Tanzania issues special mining license for world’s largest unexploited nickel deposits

Following the signing of the Framework Agreement last January, the Government of Tanzania has now issued a special mining licence (SML) for a period of over 30 years for the Kabanga Nickel project, covering the full life of the project.

The Kabanga Nickel Project holds the world’s largest development-ready nickel sulphide deposit and will produce Class 1 battery grade nickel, cobalt and copper. Its cradle-to-gate operation will notably rely on the hydromet technology, which is more cost efficient than smelting but can also reduce the carbon footprint and environmental impact of operations.

Based on approximately 600 km of drilling, Kabanga’s previous owners, Barrick Gold Corporation and Glencore, had published a 2014 Resource Estimate (Measured, Indicated and Inferred) of 58 million tonnes of ore at an average in-situ nickel grade of 2.62%. Mineralisation of the resource is greater than 95% massive sulphide.

In order the develop the project, Kabanga Nickel and the Government of Tanzania had signed last January a Framework Agreement establishing the Tembo Nickel Corporation. The operating company is now the one in charge of mining, processing and refining the Class 1 nickel with cobalt and copper co-products. Tembo is owned at 84% by Kabanga Nickel with the remaining 16% held by the Government of Tanzania.

By accelerating the development of the project, Kabanga Nickel will be increasing the supply of crucial minerals in the development and manufacture of batteries used in electric vehicles. On the back of growing demand for EV batteries, global supply of nickel is forecast to grow from 2.25 million tonnes in 2020 to 5 million tonnes by 2040, according to Roskill.

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PE Energy opens new Centre of Excellence to support Nigerian content

Over the weekend, PE Energy officially opened its new Centre of Excellence for valves assembly, valves actuation, metering systems, pump and compressor solutions, process automation and control systems integration in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. The state-of-the-art facility covers over 11,000 m2 and was constructed by Megastar Technical Construction Co. It is set to become one of Africa’s best vendors agnostic center boosting the utilisation of indigenous materials and local talent in Nigeria. The Center of Excellence notably builds on PE Energy’s decades of experience in Nigeria and partnerships with some of the world’s leading original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the areas of process automation, control systems and valves manufacturing. The facility is now able to domesticate built-in Nigeria solutions with the support of PE Energy’s technical partners and OEMs. It is equipped with high-precision equipment for complete upgrade of manual and standard actuated valves, the manufacture and assembly of instrument fittings, automation and system integration, the testing and calibrating of valves and flow measurement instruments. PE Energy has already demonstrated the use of the Centre when it performed, last September, the first in-country Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) on wellhead multiphase wet gas metering solutions, in partnership with Solartron ISA, for Shell’s Gbaran Ubie Phase 3A Project. Just last week, PE Energy and Middle East automation and control systems integration provider Avanceon have secured a new contract to help revive the Kalaekule oilfield on OML 72. Under the agreement, both companies will be delivering electrohydraulic wellhead control panel for the field’s offshore facilities. The project will also be executed at the Centre of Excellence in Port Hartcourt.

Mainstream Renewable Power big winner in South Africa’s 2.5 GW renewable energy bid round

South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), Mr. Gwede Mantashe, has announced yesterday the preferred bidders for the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) Bid Window 5. The round resulted in the selection of five consortium as preferred bidders for 25 projects totalling 2,583 MW of renewable energy. The bidders will jointly invest R50 billion in those projects, expected to reach financial close early next year and to start generating by April 2024. Out of the 2.5GW of awarded capacity, 1,608 MW will be based on onshore wind and 975 MW on solar PV. Mainstream Renewable Power alone secured 12 projects totaling 1,274 MW (824 MW of onshore wind and 450 MW of solar PV). To date, the company has been awarded over 2.1 GW of renewable energy projects under the REIPPPP and has become the largest renewable energy developer of the country by capacity. The company currently owns 100% of the projects awarded but ownership will transfer to the equity consortium upon financial close including Mainstream (25%), Globeleq (26%), Africa Rainbow Energy & Power (23.25%), H1 Holdings (23.25%) and Community Trusts (2.5%). Other preferred bidders notably include Scatec with 273 MW, a Norwegian company that entered the South African energy market back in 2010 and already commissioned several solar PV projects under previous REIPPPP windows. Scatec had also secured three solar projects totaling 150 MW during the 2 GW Risk Mitigation IPP procurement programme (RMIPPPP) earlier this year. Scatec will own 51% of the equity in the projects while its local Black Economic Empowerment partner H1 Holdings will own 46.5% and a Community Trust holding will hold the remaining 2.5%. Scatec will also be the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) provider and provide Operation & Maintenance as well as Asset Management services to the power plants. EDF Renewables secured three projects, as did Engie and Red Rocket. Finally, the joint-venture of Mulilo and Total secured one project. Mulilo Total is already progressing two projects it has been awarded under the RMIPPPP last June, with a combined capacity of almost 275 MW. Window 5 resulted in some of the cheapest bid price on record, making South Africa’s wind and solar energy very competitive against coal. From 2012 to 2015, South Africa already awarded 6.3 GW of renewable energy capacity via windows 1, 2, 3, 3.5 and 4. Thousands of jobs were created, while attracting billions on foreign direct investment. While the projects from Window 4 are just reaching commissioning stage, South Africa just closed its Risk Mitigation IPP Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP), awarding another 2 GW of projects earlier this year. Following Window 5, Window 6 is expected to be launched this year to announce the winners in May 2022, while Window 7 would be launched in 2022 to that winners are awarded in Q3 of the same year. Finally, South Africa is also planning a storage and gas-specific windows, with the former launched in November this year while the latter would see its request for proposal issued in Q1 2022.