Home » How a New Road Project Could Boost Congo’s Copper and Cobalt Exports 

How a New Road Project Could Boost Congo’s Copper and Cobalt Exports 

A new route to speed up the transportation of critical metals for the green energy transition

by Motoni Olodun
Congo copper road project

A new road project worth $850 million is set to transform the transportation and connectivity of copper and cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia, and an East African port. The project, backed by a Mauritius-based company and a Hungarian construction firm, will reduce the existing travel distance by over 150 miles and ease the congestion issues plaguing the mining sector.

The DRC and Zambia’s presidents initiated the road project on Monday and broke ground at the site where a key part of the route, a bridge over the Luapula River that separates their countries, will be built. The project also includes one-stop border posts and tolling plazas.

The road project is expected to benefit the mining companies operating in DRC, Africa’s biggest producer of copper and cobalt, two metals critical for renewable energy technology and the green energy transition. The current routes for transporting supplies and exports are often clogged by border crossings and poorly maintained roads, resulting in delays and losses.

The new route will connect Lubumbashi in DRC to the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam, which is a major gateway for trade in East Africa. The project will take three years to complete and will be funded by 70% debt and 30% equity from the company behind it, GED Africa.

The road project is part of a broader effort to improve the infrastructure and connectivity of the region, which has immense mineral wealth but also faces challenges such as poverty, conflict, and corruption. Other initiatives include a rail link between Zambia and Tanzania, a copper smelter for informal miners in DRC, and a hydroelectric dam on the Congo River.

The road project is seen as a sign of cooperation and integration between DRC and Zambia, two neighbors that have had disputes over their border in the past. The project is also expected to boost trade and investment in the region and create jobs and opportunities for local communities.

The road project is a milestone for developing and modernizing the mining sector in DRC and Zambia, which have huge potential to contribute to the global demand for copper and cobalt. The project could also pave the way for more sustainable and responsible mining practices that respect human rights and environmental standards.

Source: Business Insider Africa

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