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AFC Invests In Africa’s Largest Copper Complex, Boosts Mineral Beneficiation

AFRICA Finance Corporation (AFC), the continent’s leading infrastructure solutions provider, has announced the closing of a $150 million senior loan with Kamoa Copper. This loan will support the expansion of the Kamoa-Kakula Copper Complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Acting as both lender and arranger, AFC’s commitment aligns with its mission to enhance local beneficiation of Africa’s mineral resources, thereby unlocking the continent’s economic potential.

The Kamoa-Kakula Copper Complex is a world-class, high-grade, low carbon-intensive underground copper deposit located on the western edge of the Central African Copperbelt. Since starting production in July 2021, the complex is now undergoing its third phase of expansion. This phase includes a 33 percent increase in copper production capacity to over 600,000 tonnes per annum (tpa), the construction of Africa’s largest copper smelter with a capacity of 500,000 tpa of 99 percent pure copper anodes, and the refurbishment of turbine #5 at the Inga II dam to restart 178 megawatts (MW) of renewable hydroelectric generation capacity. The expansion is expected to be completed by the end of 2024, making Kamoa-Kakula Africa’s largest copper producer and the third largest globally.

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Kamoa-Kakula operates as a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines, Zijin Mining, and the Government of the DRC. The operation has consistently demonstrated exceptional performance, delivering expansions on-budget and ahead of schedule. Its sustainable approach sets a benchmark for responsible mining in Africa, with 91 percent of its full-time employees being Congolese and over $600 million paid in taxes and royalties to the DRC since operations began. In 2023, Kamoa-Kakula contributed directly to 4 percent of the country’s GDP and was recognised as one of the world’s lowest greenhouse gas emitters per tonne of copper produced, according to independent consultants Skarn Associates and WSP Group.

‘This is a key milestone in our mission to develop infrastructure ecosystems that help integrate economies and drive economic transformation in Africa,’ said Samaila Zubairu, President and CEO of AFC. ‘Copper is one of the critical minerals for the global energy transition, and this mine expansion will not only solidify Africa’s position in the global copper market but also contribute to the continent’s path to net zero while creating employment opportunities and generating significant revenue for the DRC.’

AFC’s involvement in the Kamoa-Kakula project underscores its crucial role in catalysing infrastructure development that drives industrialisation and enhances Africa’s global competitiveness. In late 2023, Kamoa-Kakula became the first industrial user of the Lobito Atlantic Railway Corridor, a rail line stretching from the DRC Copperbelt to the Atlantic port of Lobito in Angola. AFC acted as financial adviser to the Trafigura, Mota-Engil, and Vecturis consortium, which was granted a 30-year concession for railway services and logistics. The use of the Lobito Atlantic Railway Corridor is expected to significantly reduce logistics costs and the carbon emissions intensity of exporting mineral products from the DRC’s Copperbelt.

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