Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN) announced on Wednesday that Kamoa Copper SA has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Lobito Atlantic International SARL for the transportation of Kamoa-Kakula’s copper concentrate by rail to the Atlantic port of Lobito in Angola.
The rail line extends for 1,739 kilometres from Lobito to Kolwezi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, passing within five kilometres of the Kamoa-Kakula licence boundary.
An initial trial shipment of up to 10,000 tonnes of copper concentrate from Kamoa-Kakula’s Phase 1 and 2 concentrators will be transported in Q4 2023 and sold to international markets.
“The Lobito Corridor is set to become a crucial trade route for copper and other critical minerals from a uniquely strategic region of Africa… metals that are so desperately needed for our planet’s energy transition,” Ivanhoe Mines’ founder and executive co-chairman Robert Friedland said in a statement.
“Logistics on the rail corridor will incur significantly lower carbon emissions than the alternative by truck – further enhancing Kamoa-Kakula’s commitment to produce ultra-green copper.”
Currently, Kamoa-Kakula trucks its copper concentrates by road across sub-Saharan Africa to the ports of Durban in South Africa, Dar es Saleem in Tanzania, Beira in Mozambique and Walvis Bay in Namibia, and shipped to international markets.
The United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is currently conducting due diligence for a potential $250 million investment to finance the commercialization of the Lobito Atlantic Railway Corridor.
The Kamoa-Kakula copper complex produced 333,500 tonnes of copper in 2022, more than double its output a year earlier. The project is owned 39.6% by Ivanhoe, 39.6% by Zijin Mining, 0.8% by Crystal River Global, and the balance (20%) by the DRC government.