By Robb M. Stewart
Ivanhoe Mines' part-owned Kamoa Copper venture in Congo has struck a deal to export concentrate by rail to the Atlantic port of Lobito in Angola, which promises to cut the distance and speeding up shipments currently carried by truck.
The Canadian mining company said Wednesday the venture signed a memorandum of understanding with Lobito Atlantic International for the transportation of copper concentrate along the rail corridor linking Congo's copperbelt with the port and which passes within five kilometres of the Kamoa-Kakula licence boundary.
Lobito Atlantic, a consortium that includes rail operator Vecturis, commodities trading group Trafigura and infrastructure management company Mota-Engil Engenharia e Construcao Africa, last year received a 30-year concession for rail services and support in Angola and has committed to invest million of dollars in the country and in Congo to improve rail infrastructure and capacity.
Ivanhoe said an initial shipment of up to 10,000 metric tons of concentrate will be transported along the rail corridor in the final three months of this year, where it will be sold to international markets.
Currently, Kamoa-Kakula trucks its copper concentrates by road across sub-Saharan Africa to Durban in South Africa, Dar es Saleem in Tanzania, Beira in Mozambique and Walvis Bay in Namibia.
The memorandum signed by Kamoa Copper follows a recent announcement the U.S. will support the development of the Lobito Corridor with investment in rail expansion, including a potential financing package of $250 million by the U.S. International Development Finance Corp.
Ivanhoe and Zijin Mining Group each own indirect stakes of almost 40% in Kamoa Copper, operator of the Kamoa Copper mining complex. Hong Kong-based Crystal River Global holds 0.8%, and the government of Congo owns the remaining 20%. The Kamoa find was discovered in 2009 and Kakula in 2016.
Write to Robb M. Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires