Ivanhoe Mines, a Canadian mining company, has announced that its part-owned Kamoa Copper venture in Congo has reached an agreement to export concentrate via rail to the Atlantic port of Lobito in Angola. This deal aims to reduce transportation distance and accelerate shipments that are currently being transported by truck.
The venture has signed a memorandum of understanding with Lobito Atlantic International for the transportation of copper concentrate along the rail corridor that connects Congo’s copperbelt with the port. Importantly, this rail corridor passes within five kilometers of the Kamoa-Kakula license boundary.
Lobito Atlantic is a consortium consisting of rail operator Vecturis, commodities trading group Trafigura, and infrastructure management company Mota-Engil Engenharia e Construcao Africa. They were granted a 30-year concession for rail services and support in Angola last year. As part of the agreement, they are committed to investing millions of dollars to improve rail infrastructure and capacity in both Angola and Congo.
In the final three months of this year, an initial shipment of up to 10,000 metric tons of concentrate will be transported along the rail corridor and sold to international markets.
At present, Kamoa-Kakula transports its copper concentrates by road across sub-Saharan Africa to various ports, including Durban in South Africa, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Beira in Mozambique, and Walvis Bay in Namibia.
This recent memorandum signed by Kamoa Copper follows the U.S. government’s announcement to support the development of the Lobito Corridor through investment in rail expansion. The potential financing package of $250 million offered by the U.S. International Development Finance Corp will contribute to this project.
Kamoa Copper is jointly owned by Ivanhoe and Zijin Mining Group, with each company holding indirect stakes of approximately 40%. Hong Kong-based Crystal River Global owns 0.8% of the venture, and the government of Congo owns the remaining 20%. The Kamoa deposit was discovered in 2009, followed by the Kakula deposit in 2016.