What is the Kabanga Nickel project?


Frequently asked questions

The Kabanga Nickel project is one of the largest development-ready nickel sulphide deposit in the world. Once in operation, the Kabanga Nickel project will produce high-purity battery grade nickel, cobalt and copper refined metals in Tanzania. The mine-to-metal operation will use hydromet technology that has the opportunity to be more cost efficient than smelting. The hydromet process is expected to reduce the carbon footprint, minimise environmental impact, lower capital and production costs, and contribute significantly to the economic growth of Tanzania. 

What is the Kabanga Nickel Project approach?

Lifezone’s patented hydrometallurgical (‘hydromet’) processing technology is key to unlocking the value of the Kabanga Nickel project, a large-scale, high-quality nickel sulphide project in North-West Tanzania.
The project will take place entirely in Tanzania. We will mine ore and produce a rich concentrate at Kabanga. This will then be transported to Kahama, where it will be processed further using our propriety green hydrometallurgical process to produce the finished metal ready to be used around the world.
This approach is expected to provide equitable sharing of the full economic benefits, and also removes the need to ship ore concentrates overseas for beneficiation, resulting in an estimated 25,000km less transportation(1), further enhancing the environmental credentials of the Kabanga Nickel project.
It is an innovative model that allows us to focus our attention solely on Tanzania, enhancing our ability to work with local stakeholders and incorporate newer technology and methodology into our operations here.
(1) Than if ore is shipped to North America or Europe for smelting and refining.

Who is Lifezone?

Lifezone is a developer of responsibly sourced metals to the battery and electric vehicles markets. Through Lifezone’s proprietary hydromet technology, the aim is to create value in battery metals value chain with operations that produce lower carbon intensity metals across mining and processing.
Lifezone’s strategy is to invest in and secure world-class deposits of metals and minerals essential for clean energy and emissions reductions to combat climate change.
Every element of the Lifezone strategy is driven by the highest standards of ESG, and a commitment to sustainable value - from low energy processing technology, to creating shared value with Tanzania, to providing OEMS and other manufacturers with the assurance that our products support “responsible sourcing”.

Is Lifezone a new company?

Lifezone is a consolidation of two interconnected companies: Kabanga Nickel Limited (“Kabanga Nickel”) and Lifezone Limited. Its key business units are a mining asset in Kabanga Nickel and a cleaner metals processing business (using hydromet technology), Lifezone Limited, which will support processing of mined metals, and the recycling of metals used in devices like auto catalysts.

When will the mine and refinery be built? 

This project will commence in phases. Work has commenced on exploration assessment, resettlement and other baselines before initial construction can begin.
The full construction of the mine, infrastructure and refinery will take a number of years to complete. Our approach means we can employ the most sustainable best practice as we set out our path to being fully operational.
Over time, there will be different opportunities for training, skills development and progress as the mining operations and associated infrastructure run to completion and full operating capacity.

Why is the refinery in Kahama and not Ngara?

There are existing key infrastructure and amenities at Kahama that make its setting and logistics the right location for the refinery.
The SGR rail extension to Rwanda and Burundi passes through Kahama allowing convenient shipment of product for local sale or international markets. There is reliable power from the Tanesco Grid and there is existing source of trained labour and service providers in the area.
Kahama has the potential to be East Africa’s refinery hub as it will be able to process base and precious metal concentrates for gold, copper and other nickel operations.

What is hydrometallurgy or hydromet?

Hydromet technology is a method to produce concentrate far removed from the conventional, energy-intensive pyrometallurgical processing route of smelting and refining. Lifezone’s hydromet technology uses pressure oxidation and solvent extraction-electrowinning to extract valuable metals, with no melting of the rock.
This process has the potential to eliminate the need to export concentrate long distances to European or Asian smelters and refineries. This has the potential to reduce capital and operating costs, with less environmental impact, while maximizing value and returns within Tanzania.

What are the advantages of your unique process over typical smelting processes?

By applying hydrometallurgy technology to process the ores and produce final high-grade metals, we expect to bypass the traditional polluting smelting process, resulting in less energy use and pollution.
Hydrometallurgy is an aqueous processing technology that more selectively targets the valuable metals compared to smelting, which heats up all the ore to over 1,600 degrees Celsius. It is cheaper, more environmentally friendly and can all be achieved at one site.(1)
By adopting this method and operating solely within Tanzania, we expect to achieve five times less electricity consumption, five times less carbon dioxide emissions and zero sulphur dioxide emissions.(1)
(1) Compared to traditional smelting.

What measures are Tembo Nickel taking in protecting the environment at mining site? 

The great advantage of building this project out from scratch is that we can apply modern best in class practices that will lock in appropriate sustainability and Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) standards, ensuring the environment is protected and allowed to flourish.

How will the Ngara / Kahama community benefit from the project? 

The community benefits are many and will include job creation, skills building, support for community projects, business opportunities to support the services required by the mine and refinery.

How will the Tanzania benefit from the project? 

Tembo Nickel has a special partnership with the Government of Tanzania and we expect there will be equitable sharing of economic benefits, including:

  • The Government of Tanzania owns 16% of equity in the business as free carry shares
  • There will be full beneficiation in-country
  • Potential for Tanzania to be positioned to become East Africa’s refinery hub
  • Potential for Tanzania to supply refined, responsibly sourced nickel to the global market
  • The project will create jobs, business opportunities and build skills in Ngara, in Kahama and across the nation, as well as economically elevating communities surrounding the project area

When will the resettlement begin? 

The review and update which is currently underway of the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) will assess this.

How many will be affected by the resettlement?

The review and update which is currently underway of the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) will assess this.

How many jobs will be created for mining and refinery? 

Tembo Nickel will employ as many from the local community as possible keeping in mind that each stage of the project’s development will require different skills sets. Tembo Nickel skills survey will assess to determine what level of skills are in Ngara District for potential jobs as required. Tembo Nickel also intends to provide a wide range of trainings throughout the project life of mine. Current estimates are approximately 900 in mine and 270 workers in the refinery. 

How can I get in contact?

Via Toll-Free Number: 0800750258
Via email at info@tembonickel.com