Home » Lifezone Metals Gains $50M for Tanzanian Nickel Project

Lifezone Metals Gains $50M for Tanzanian Nickel Project

Financing and Licence Propel Lifezone's Kabanga Refinery Forward

by Ikeoluwa Ogungbangbe
Lifezone Tanzanian nickel project

Lifezone Metals (NYSE: LZM), a notable player in the nickel mining industry, has recently garnered significant financial and regulatory support, propelling its flagship Kabanga nickel project in northwest Tanzania towards the definitive feasibility stage, expected later this year. The company’s shares witnessed a notable increase following the announcement of a $50 million debenture financing deal, along with the acquisition of a crucial licence for its refinery in Tanzania, setting a promising trajectory for its development plans.

The investment, led by esteemed figures Harry Lundin of Bromma Asset Management and Rick Rule, comes in the form of debenture financing bearing an annual interest tied to the secured overnight financing rate plus 4%. This financing arrangement also offers a path for conversion into Lifezone’s common shares, underscoring the investors’ confidence in the company’s prospects.

Lifezone Metals embarked on its public journey last July, emerging from a business merger with GoGreen Investments and Lifezone Holdings Ltd. This strategic move pegged the combined entity’s value at an impressive $1 billion, according to the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) involved in the transaction. Strategically situated in Tanzania, the Kabanga project is distinguished by its status as one of the world’s largest undeveloped nickel sulphide deposits. Lifezone Metals is set to leverage its proprietary Hydromet processing technology at this site to produce cleaner metals, a move aligned with the surging demand for battery materials.

The journey to acquiring the Kabanga project rights in early 2021 marked a significant milestone, further solidified by the Tanzanian government’s grant of a mining licence. This governmental endorsement, coupled with a financial commitment of $100 million from industry giant BHP, has been instrumental in advancing the project. The Kabanga deposit, previously explored by Barrick Gold and Glencore with a $293 million investment, has seen substantial progress under Lifezone’s stewardship. Recent drilling efforts have not only led to high-grade discoveries but also a considerable update in the mineral resource estimate, highlighting the deposit’s rich nickel content.

Parallel to its mining endeavors, Lifezone has made significant strides in metallurgical refining testwork through its Hydromet technology. This innovative approach promises a lower carbon footprint compared to traditional smelting methods, with test results boasting nickel recoveries exceeding 98.5%.

The company’s recent acquisition of a multi-metals processing licence from the Tanzanian government for its Kahama refinery, approximately 340 km southwest of Kabanga, marks a critical step forward. Located within a special economic zone and benefiting from existing infrastructure, this facility is poised to produce finished metals directly in Tanzania. This strategic move is expected to yield considerable savings in capital and operating expenses, alongside reducing transportation costs for concentrate or intermediate products.

Chris Showalter, CEO of Lifezone, expressed optimism about the project’s trajectory, emphasizing the importance of the mining and refinery licences in realizing the company’s vision for direct-to-metal production in Tanzania. Following these developments, Lifezone Metals saw a 3.2% increase in its share price, reaching $8.19 by mid-morning Friday in New York, thus elevating the company’s market capitalization to $639.3 million. These advancements signal a new era for Lifezone Metals and Tanzania’s mining sector, promising economic benefits and reinforcing Tanzania’s position in the global nickel market.

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