Ivanhoe Mines, a Canadian mining company with three principal projects in southern Africa, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Lobito Atlantic International SARL (LAI) to transport Kamoa-Kakula copper concentrate by rail to the Atlantic Ocean port of Lobito, Angola
The Lobito Atlantic Railway Corridor links the DRC Copperbelt to the port of Lobito in Angola and extends for 1,739 km from the port to Kolwezi in DRC. It passes within 5 km of the Kamoa-Kakula licence boundary and through the Western Foreland exploration licences.
With a 30-year concession for railway services and support logistics in Angola, LAI is comprised of leading global commodities trading group Trafigura, Mota-Engil Engenharia e Construcao Africa SA, and and Vecturis SA.
LAI has committed US$455mn in Angola and US$100mn in DRC to improve the rail infrastructure, capacity and safety and will include rolling stock of more than 1,500 wagons and 35 locomotives. Further investment could arrive if the Lobito Corridor is extended into Zambia.
Robert Friedland, Ivanhoe Mines’ founder and executive co-chairman, remarked, “The Lobito Corridor is set to become a crucial trade route for copper and other critical minerals from a uniquely strategic region of Africa. Thanks to the forward-thinking investments by our shareholders CITIC, who originally upgraded the port and rail line, there is now the possibility of open access rail from the Copperbelt to the deep-water, Atlantic Ocean port of Lobito. This type of modern infrastructure will be critical as mines like Kamoa-Kakula continue to expand.
“The Lobito Corridor is the shortest and most direct export and import route from the Copperbelt to the seaborne international market, which should provide for quicker turnaround times and lower costs. Most importantly, 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.
In Q4 2023, an initial trial shipment of up to 10,000 tonnes of copper concentrate will be transported from Kamo-Kakula’s Phase 1 and 2 concentrators to the port of Lobito where it will be sold to international markets.