Home » KoBold Metals Unearths Zambia’s Largest Copper Deposit

KoBold Metals Unearths Zambia’s Largest Copper Deposit

KoBold's Mingomba Discovery Set to Transform Copper Mining Industry

by Ikeoluwa Ogungbangbe
KoBold Metals Zambia copper discovery

KoBold Metals, a California-based startup supported by a coalition of billionaires, including Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, announced a major copper discovery at its Mingomba asset in Zambia. The company claims that this deposit is the largest copper found in Zambia in a century and is planning to expedite its development.

KoBold Metals has been conducting drilling activities at its Zambian permit for slightly over a year, during which time it has confirmed the significant size of the deposit. Josh Goldman, President of KoBold Metals, described Mingomba as “extraordinary,” comparing its potential to the Kamoa-Kakula mine, owned by Ivanhoe Mines, and China’s Zijin Mining, located just across the border in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Kamoa-Kakula mine produced nearly 400,000 tonnes of copper last year.

Goldman stated that Mingomba is similar to Kakula in both size and grade, emphasizing that it is poised to become one of the highest-grade, large underground mines. KoBold Metals acquired a stake in the project in 2022 through a joint venture with its existing owners, Australian private equity firm EMR Capital, and Zambia’s state-owned mining investment entity, ZCCM-IH (LON: ZCC).

The company still intends to construct the $2 billion underground copper mine in Zambia within the decade, with the first production expected in the early 2030s. However, the company requires updated resource estimates and completed feasibility studies before making a final decision to proceed.

Goldman expressed confidence in securing the necessary capital, noting that the global issue lies not in the lack of capital availability but rather in the shortage of high-quality projects with attractive returns. He stated, “For a great project, there will be capital.” The potential development of the Mingomba project aligns with the vision of Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema, who aims to increase the country’s copper production to three million tonnes by 2032 to alleviate the nation’s debt burden.

A Diverse Portfolio: From Canada to the Rest of the Nations 

KoBold Metals is not solely concentrated on copper but instead targets all minerals and metals deemed critical for the energy transition. The company initiated its exploration for battery metals in Canada three years ago when it acquired rights to an area in northern Quebec, which revealed the presence of lithium.

Currently, KoBold has approximately a dozen exploration properties across various locations, including Zambia, Namibia, the DRC, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Western Australia. These properties have resulted from joint ventures with major players such as BHP (ASX: BHP) and BlueJay Mining (LON: JAY) for mineral exploration in Greenland.

In addition to its international activities, KoBold Metals is engaged in exploration efforts in South Korea and the United States. In December, the company launched a global search for lithium deposits across four continents. KoBold utilizes artificial intelligence to create a comprehensive geological map of the Earth’s crust, with a specific focus on identifying copper, cobalt, nickel, and lithium deposits. The company analyzes various data streams, including historical drilling results and satellite imagery, to identify potential deposit locations.

The application of algorithms to this data enables KoBold to recognize geological patterns indicative of potential cobalt deposits, which often occur naturally alongside nickel and copper. The technology has the capability to pinpoint resources that conventional geologists may have overlooked, assisting mining companies in land acquisition and drilling decisions. Josh Goldman mentioned that the company is considering going public within the next three to four years, highlighting its ambitions for growth and expansion in the mining and exploration sectors.

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