The Tanzanian Government has awarded Lifezone Metals a licence to operate a multi-metal processing facility for nickel, copper and cobalt at its Kabanga Nickel Project in Kahama.

This marks a significant milestone for one of the world’s largest undeveloped nickel sulphide deposits, situated in north-west Tanzania.

Located nearly 340km south-west of the Kabanga deposit, Kahama Refinery will utilise Lifezone’s proprietary Hydromet Technology.

The technology will facilitate the production of finished metals within the country, while potentially reducing both capital and operating expenses, as well as transportation costs for concentrates and other intermediate products.

Lifezone’s subsidiary, Tembo Nickel, which is 16% owned by the Tanzanian Government, will operate both the Kabanga and Kahama facilities.

The company’s Hydromet Technology is heralded as a transformative metals recovery process that could supplant traditional smelting for base and precious metals refining.

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A definitive feasibility study for the Kabanga Nickel Project is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2024.

The recent issuance of the Kahama Refinery Licence is a follow-up to the formal gazettement of the Special Economic Zone (Declaration) Notice, 2024, which recognises the Buzwagi Mining Area in the Shinyanga region as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

The refinery’s location within the SEZ will benefit from various tax and economic incentives.

Additionally, the project will benefit from the workforce and existing infrastructure of the former Buzwagi Gold Mine, including camp and office facilities, regional power connections, an airstrip, and nearby road and railway links.

Lifezone Metals CEO Chris Showalter said: “The ongoing level of commitment and support that we have received from the Government of Tanzania in the advancement of our Kabanga Nickel Project is exemplary.

“With the receipt of our Kabanga Special Mining Licence, and now the Kahama Refinery Licence, we have a clear path to delivering a direct-to-metal solution and enabling the production of nickel, copper and cobalt in Tanzania and by Tanzanians.”