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Lobito Corridor Energized By $150 Million AFC Loan for Kamoa-Kakula Expansion

The Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) granted a $150 million loan to expand the Kamoa-Kakula Copper Complex, the largest and most important mine along the Lobito Corridor. By Q4 2024, it aims to be the world's third-largest copper mine, producing 600,000 tonnes annually. This joint venture of Ivanhoe Mines (39.6%), Zijin Mining (39.6%), and Crystal River Global (0.8%) has paid over $600 million in taxes and royalties to the DRC, contributing 4% to the nation’s GDP.

On Wednesday, the Africa Finance Corporation ("AFC") announced the closing of a $150 million senior loan to support the expansion of the Kamoa-Kakula Copper Complex. This complex is set to become the world's third-largest copper mining operation by the fourth quarter of 2024, increasing its production to approximately 600,000 tonnes of copper per year.

"This is a key milestone in our mission to develop infrastructure ecosystems that help integrate economies and drive economic transformation in Africa,” said Samaila Zubairu, President and CEO of AFC. “Copper is one of the critical minerals for the global energy transition and this mine expansion will not only solidify Africa’s position in the global copper market but contribute to the continent’s path to net zero while creating employment opportunities and generating significant revenue for the DRC."

History and Relevance of Kamoa-Kakula

The Kamoa-Kakula Copper Complex is operated by Kamoa Copper S.A., a joint venture between Canadian mining company Ivanhoe Mines (holding 39.6%), Chinese multinational Zijin Mining Group (holding 39.6%), and private Hong Kong-based company Crystal River Global Limited (holding 0.8%). The complex began production in July 2021 and is currently undergoing its third phase of expansion, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2024, increasing copper production capacity by 33%.

The complex has undergone phased expansions to increase its production capacity. The Phase 1 and Phase 2 concentrators have a combined design processing capacity of 9.2 million tonnes per annum, with an annual copper output of more than 450,000 tonnes per annum of contained copper by Q2 2023. The Phase 3 expansion, featuring a 5 million tonnes per annum concentrator plant, is expected to boost total copper production to approximately 600,000 tonnes per annum, with operations slated to begin in Q4 2024.

Since the Kamoa-Kakula Copper Complex began production, it has paid over $600 million in taxes and royalties to the government of the DRC. In 2023, the mine accounted for 4% of the DRC's GDP.

Role of the Lobito Corridor

In 2023, Kamoa-Kakula became the first industrial user of the Lobito Corridor's railway infrastructure. On February 7, 2024, Ivanhoe announced the signing of a term sheet outlining the financial terms for Ivanhoe to use the Lobito Corridor to transport up to 240,000 tonnes of annual copper produced starting in 2025.

Ivanhoe Mines’ Founder and Executive Co-Chairman, Robert Friedland commented then on the importance of the Lobito Corridor:

“The transformative economic corridor will unlock more copper projects due to the lower logistical costs. Cheaper logistics increase the amount of economically recoverable copper across the Copperbelt, as cut-off grades can be lowered. This makes a significant impact on discoveries made in the DRC, such as the recent high-grade and open-ended Kitoko copper discovery in the Western Foreland, where we are stepping up exploration activities this year to find more ultra-green copper metal. Kitoko is located only 30 kilometres from the existing rail line.”

Before utilizing the Lobito Corridor, Kamoa-Kakula relied on trucks to haul copper concentrate across sub-Saharan Africa to the ports of Durban in South Africa, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Veria in Mozambique, and Walvis Bay in Namibia. The port of Lobito is approximately half the distance between Durban and the Kamoa-Kakula mine.




Image by katsuma tanaka

Lobito Corridor IPA


Lobito Intro Report

The Lobito Corridor Investment Promotion Authority ("LCIPA" or "the IPA") is a permanent multi-stakeholder engagement agency tasked to link all public and private entities interested in advancing and participating in the Lobito Corridor. Its main goals are to maximize and promote trade, investment, and economic integration among and between the three African nations of Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia. 

Download our official Lobito Corridor report to learn more about the initiative and why it matters. Follow our social media and subscribe to the newsletter to stay up-to-date and join the community.

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