Zambia sees KoBold spending $2.3 billion on giant copper mine

Bill Gates at Hioe Charity Forum. (Image courtesy of Greg Rubenstein | Flickr Commons.)

KoBold Metals, the Bill Gates-backed mining exploration company, could spend $2.3 billion to build a major new copper mine in Zambia, President Hakainde Hichilema said, citing figures from the company.

The firm aims to produce more than 300,000 metric tons per year at Mingomba — making it the country’s biggest such operation — and will begin sinking the mining shaft in the first half of 2026, according to company officials. Their meeting with Hichilema on Friday was broadcast over state television.

Zambia is seeking to become one of the world’s largest producers of copper, which is crucial for green technologies like electric vehicles and wind turbines. The world faces predicted shortages of the metal in the coming decades amid the shift away from fossil fuels. Hichilema has previously said the Mingomba project could ultimately become one of the three-biggest copper mines globally.

Officials from KoBold, based in the San Francisco Bay area, met with Hichilema and a group of heavyweight investors visiting Zambia this week to tour the firm’s activities in the country. They included senior representatives from Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Standard Industries, Equinor Ventures, Bond Capital and T. Rowe Price.

Michael Bloomberg, the majority owner of Bloomberg News’s parent Bloomberg LP, is an investor in Breakthrough, according to the venture company’s website.

(By Taonga Mitimingi and Matthew Hill)

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