BHP invests $50M in Tanzania green nickel project

Miner to invest in Lifezone to accelerate development and production
BHP invests $50M in Tanzania green nickel project BHP invests $50M in Tanzania green nickel project BHP invests $50M in Tanzania green nickel project BHP invests $50M in Tanzania green nickel project BHP invests $50M in Tanzania green nickel project

This illustration highlights the scale of the Kabanga nickel sulphide orebody

BHP will invest US$10 million into UK-based green technology provider Lifezone as part of its plans to participate in the Kabanga Nickel Project in Tanzania. 

The company invest a further US$40 million in Kabanga to improve the development and supply of Class 1 battery-grade nickel, cobalt and copper.

Kabanga Nickel said Lifezone's environmentally friendly hydrometallurgical processes are"more cost-efficient" than smelting and have a "significantly lower environmental impact."

Furthermore, the Lifezone technology would ensure that finished battery nickel, copper and cobalt will be produced in Tanzania, Kabanga Nickel said.

"Lifezone is the owner of the hydrometallurgical technology that will be used to build and operate a refinery in Tanzania," Kabanga Nickel said.

"Lifezone's hydrometallurgical technology provides a greener, lower emission and higher margin product and will allow full beneficiation of metals in-country."

The deal will allow for new patent applications and research and development work that "further commercialise" the company's hydrometallurgical technology.  

Chris Showalter, Kabanga Nickel's chief executive officer, said through the development of Kabanga and Lifezone's technology, Tanzania will "have a growing role in the supply of battery metals needed to move to a global low carbon economy."

The project timeline anticipates the first production by 2025 and is expected to result in an annual output of 40,000 tonnes of nickel, 6,000 tonnes of copper and 3,000 tonnes of cobalt.

Kabanga has been the subject of repeated exploration programmes and feasibility studies by some of the world's leading mining companies, Mining Journal wrote last year.

"[T]he big miners could never overcome Kabanga's remote location, a wildly fluctuating nickel price, and a rigid belief that the best development route was through conventional pyrometallurgical ore processing (heat) and the export of a concentrate to overseas smelters," added the MJ report.