The global shift towards renewable energy is driving a growing demand for copper and cobalt, which are critical metals used in wind and solar powered technology and electric vehicle production. This has led to an increased focus on mining these metals in countries such as Zambia, which possess substantial reserves of them. One of the recent major investment in Zambia is the Mingomba Copper-Cobalt mine by California-based exploration firm KoBold Metals, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify battery metal deposits.
The Mingomba Copper-Cobalt Mine
- The Mingomba copper-cobalt mine, located in Zambia, is one of the many projects that KoBold Metals is currently developing in the country. It contains an estimated 247 million tonnes of ore, with an average grade of 3.64% copper, according to KoBold’s estimates.
Investment in Zambia’s Copper-Cobalt Industry
- KoBold Metals announced at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C. that it will be investing $150 million to develop the Mingomba mine.
- The company’s investors include Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a climate and technology fund founded by Microsoft’s Bill Gates and backed by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Virgin’s Richard Branson. This deal comes as the United States is looking to reduce its dependence on China by developing domestic electric vehicle battery manufacturing, and looks to Africa as an alternative source of battery metals.
The U.S.-Africa Memorandum of Understanding
- At last year’s US Africa leaders summit in Washington, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the US, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to develop an electric vehicle battery supply chain. This Memorandum further opened the door for more investment in the region, which could bring huge economic benefits for the Zambia, DRC, and the whole Africa region.
- Zambia’s Copper and Cobalt Reserves
- Zambia is particularly well-positioned to supply the world’s growing demand for copper and cobalt, as it possesses substantial reserves of these metals. According to industry experts, copper demand is expected to increase up to threefold by 2040 while cobalt demand is expected to rise over 20-fold. Zambia has 6 percent of the world’s copper reserves, and the metal accounts for up to 80 percent of its export earnings.
A Boost for the Zambian Economy
- The investment by KoBold Metals, as well as the memorandum of understanding signed with the U.S. government, presents Zambia with an extraordinary opportunity ‘ to enable mining profits as well as to power inclusive growth.
- With the potential for a significant increase in demand for copper and cobalt, the country has the opportunity to not only boost its economy, but also to play a key role in the world’s transition to a low-carbon future.
The development of the Mingomba copper-cobalt mine and the $150 million investment by KoBold Metals represents a significant step forward for Zambia’s mining industry. The country’s substantial reserves of copper and cobalt, as well as its strategic location, make it well-positioned to supply the world’s growing demand for these metals. As such, it is expected to play a crucial role in the world’s transition to a low-carbon future and could bring significant economic benefits for the country.