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The Project

"Kabanga is the largest development-ready nickel sulphide deposit in the world, unmatched in scale and grade, with at least 30 years life of mine and further exploration upside. An extensive amount of exploration and resource definition has been completed to date, setting the Kabanga nickel project on a well-defined path to production."

The Kabanga Nickel Sulphide Resource

Based on approximately 600 km of drilling, Kabanga’s previous owners, Barrick Gold Corporation (Barrick) and Glencore, published a Resource Estimate (Measured, Indicated and Inferred) in 2014 of 58 million tonnes of ore at an average in-situ nickel grade of 2.62%. Mineralization of the resource is greater than 95% massive sulphide.

Kabanga Mineral Resources Estimates as at December 31, 2014 1:
 

  Tonnes (Mt) Ni Grade (%) Cu Grade (%) Co Grade (%)
Measured 

13.8

2.49%

0.34%

0.21%

Indicated

23.4

2.72%

0.36%

0.19%

Inferred

20.8

2.6%

0.3%

0.2%

1 Based on total Measured, Indicated and Inferred Resources Statement published in 2014 by Barrick and Glencore of 58 million tonnes of ore at an average in-situ nickel grade of 2.62% (prevailing in-situ nickel equivalent grade is 3.14% including cobalt and copper).


In-Situ Metal Content:

  • Contained Nickel: 1.52 million tonnes (3,351 million pounds)
  • Contained Copper: 0.19 million tonnes (419 million pounds)
  • Contained Cobalt: 0.12 million tonnes (265 million pounds)

Kabanga Nickel is currently in the process of modernizing the mineral resource model by translation into state-of-the-art modelling software. This will culminate in higher-resolution lode modelling and consequent mineral resource optimization. A revised Mineral Resource Estimate will be published in the near future.

Project Location

The Kabanga deposit is located in the north-west of Tanzania in the Ngara district of the Kagera region, close to the Burundi and Rwanda borders and approximately 1,320 km inland west of the main port of Dar Es Salaam. The license area covers approximately 4,000 ha.
 

Project Status

A Framework Agreement that defines the relationship between Kabanga Nickel and the Government of Tanzania has been concluded between the parties on 19 January 2021. The Kabanga project is owned by Tembo Mining Limited (“Tembo”) of which Kabanga Nickel owns 84% and the Government of Tanzania the remaining 16%, in accordance with current mineral legislation. The Agreement confirms the conditions of a Special Mining License to be issued to Tembo, a Refining License and the commercial terms applicable to Tembo. Fundamental to the Framework Agreement is a partnership model that incorporates an equitable sharing of economic benefits arising from the project.

Kabanga Nickel has also concluded an agreement with Barrick and Glencore, the previous joint owners of the Kabanga project. In terms of this agreement, Kabanga Nickel has exclusively acquired all data and information relating to the previous mineral resource estimation, all metallurgical test work and piloting data, analysis and studies, including a comprehensive draft feasibility study report produced in 2014 and subsequent updates.

A total of over US$290 million has been spent by Kabanga’s previous owners between 2005 and 2014 including 587,000m of drilling. No further exploration is required to develop the project and bring it into production. 

Mining

Based on the extensive Draft Feasibility Study mine plan developed by the Barrick and Glencore joint venture, the recoverable ore tonnage is 49.3 Mt at 2.69% nickel equivalent (NiEq) from the two primary ore bodies – North and Tembo. Kabanga Nickel has subsequently identified several opportunities to enhance project outcomes including a development strategy that facilitates higher production rates and access to high-grade ore earlier in the mining schedule.

Metallurgical Processing

Metallurgical and pilot-plant test work have amply demonstrated that the sulphide ore can be concentrated using conventional flotation methods to produce a high-grade, low-impurity nickel concentrate that is well suited to hydrometallurgical processing in Tanzania. It is intended that a significant proportion of flotation tailings will be returned underground as paste backfill.

Hydrometallurgical (Hydromet) Base Metal Refinery in Tanzania

A key part of the Kabanga project strategy and business model involves in-country beneficiation to process a high-grade base metal concentrate and produce refined Class 1 nickel, copper and cobalt end products.

Leveraging management’s deep expertise in mineral processing, the Kabanga refinery will deploy hydromet technology with a specifically designed flowsheet to leach and refine the base metals. End products from the Kabanga refinery will be Class 1 nickel and cobalt metals with >99.95% purity and readily saleable to customers worldwide, as well as A-grade copper cathode for the Tanzanian market.

This beneficiation method is different to conventional pyrometallurgical nickel sulphide smelting and refining. It also removes the need to transport and export concentrate long distances to European, North American or Asian smelters and refineries for further processing.

Advantages of a Hydromet Refinery:

  • Significantly lower environmental impact and CO2 footprint.
  • Elimination of SO2 emissions obviates the need for an expensive acid plant and other sulphur abatement technologies.
  • Significantly lower capital cost than traditional smelting.
  • No requirement to export concentrate, thus reducing the CO2 footprint associated with transportation and shipping.

Creating Shared Value in Tanzania

By producing refined metals Kabanga Nickel will share more value with the people of Tanzania, which is consistent with the Government’s policy initiatives of in-country beneficiation and local value addition. These fully refined strategic metals will be exported directly to customers around the world, while retaining the significant value and flow-on benefits within the country.

Kabanga Nickel supports Tanzania’s efforts to rebalance the economic benefits of the Nation’s sovereign resources. This is reflected in commitment to an equitable sharing of benefits over the life of the project. Kabanga Nickel will also provide the highest standards of community support for the local population in the proximity of the project areas.

Environmental

By adopting hydromet technology for processing nickel concentrate, Kabanga Nickel’s environmental footprint is expected to outperform the baseline standard for the industry.

End Customers – Electric Vehicle & Energy Storage Markets

As the electric vehicle (EV) market grows to replace the use of fossil fuels, the requirement for battery minerals is expected to increase significantly to meet this additional demand. Kabanga Nickel will produce two of the key elements in lithium-ion batteries – nickel and cobalt – along with copper which is also expected to see demand grow in line with greater electrification.