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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