Australian company Cape Lambert Resources has entered a binding heads of agreement with Congolese company Paragon Mining to form a joint venture with an equal partnership.

The joint venture will develop the Kipushi Cobalt Copper Tailings Project, the Kasombo Copper-Cobalt Projects and operate the Kipushi Processing Plant in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Cape Lambert executive chairman Tony Sage said: “We believe Cobalt, as a commodity, has an extremely positive future and with this transaction and the proposed joint venture, we believe we are well-placed to benefit from significant demand and price increases in this commodity sector.

“This agreement paves the way for a JV that will benefit from advanced, highly attractive and prospective cobalt and copper projects and that will be supported by a well credentialed joint in-country and Australian-based technical and operation team that includes geologists, mining engineers, process engineers, local logistics, government and community relations professionals.

“With our strong combined track record of project delivery and a corporate team highly capable of accessing sufficient capital to advance the nearterm production assets, we look forward to our partnership with Paragon.”

The joint venture will initially include the Kipushi Cobalt Tailings Project (Kipushi) and Kasombo Copper-Cobalt Project (Kasombo), both located in the Katanga Copper Belt.

The JV will also be operating the already-commissioned Kipushi Processing Plant, which includes a fully permitted, conventional flotation plant with a throughput of 150t an hour.

The plant holds the capacity to produce 4,000tpa of cobalt, 10,000tpa copper and 2,000tpa of zinc in concentrate, which would be used to treat Kipushi cobalt tailings.

Located 8km from the plant, Kipushi tailings are based on the high-grade underground zinc copper mine that operated between 1924 and 1993.

The Kipushi tailings extend for more than 1.2km, with a 400m width.

Paragon holds a 70% interest in Kipushi under the agreement, which can be increased to 80%.

"The plant holds the capacity to produce 4,000tpa of cobalt, 10,000tpa copper and 2,000tpa of zinc in concentrate."

Kasombo Copper-Cobalt Project forms a part of the Kasombo Complex, which has been extensively explored by Gecamines.

Kasombo 1 was the first mined to report copper and cobalt grades of 2.7% to 3.7% copper and 0.7 to 1.5% cobalt.

This project is a part of the proposed JV with Paragon, which comprises three projects across two granted mining licences.

The settlement of the agreement is subject to completion of legal, technical and financial due diligence by the company and Paragon before 31 March, as well as obtaining all necessary approvals.

Image: The Kipushi Tailings. Photo: courtesy of Cape Lambert Resources.