Lifezone Metals has begun offtake marketing for the future products of its Tanzanian nickel operation. The company is in talks with electric vehicle (EV) companies to provide nickel from its prospective Kabanga project, which is backed by Australian multinational BHP.
Chris Showalter, Lifezone CEO, said in a statement: “The commencement of the off-take marketing process for the nickel, cobalt and copper to be produced at the Kabanga Project is a key milestone in the development of Lifezone Metals […] We expect a shift away from heavy-polluting sources of raw materials into the battery and EV supply chain.”
The Kabanga mine, currently undergoing feasibility assessments, has a measured nickel equivalent reserve of 25.8 million tonnes, with a further 14.6 inferred. Lifezone did not specify which EV companies it is in negotiations with, and no deal has yet been agreed.
In February, BHP finalised a $50m (A$76.65m) second tranche of investment into the Kabanga mine, taking its stake in the project to 17%. BHP had initially purchased 8.9% of the project for $40m in January 2022. The company holds an option to further increase its stake to 51%.
“[The Kabanga mine is] a development-ready deposit of metals, which we believe will be essential for the clean energy transition,” Showalter said.
Metals mined from Kabanga will be processed at the prospective Kahama refinery in Tanzania before travelling to the country’s largest city, Dar es Salaam, where Lifezone is headquartered, for export.
Lifezone believes that its “hydromet” technology is a “market changing innovation” for the nickel industry. An alternative to smelting, the hydrometallurgical process leaches the critical minerals from the mine’s liquid sludge and purifies the recovered concentrate before recovering the metals via means such as electrolysis. As the process occurs without the use of heat or pressure, it in turn reduces CO₂ emissions.
In the coming months, Lifezone intends to begin trading as a public company following its impending merger with GoGreen. “Lifezone Metals stood out to us for key reasons: the optionality to the upside via the Kabanga asset [and] the potential of its Hydromet Technology,” GoGreen CEO John Dowd said in a press release this week.