- US Vice President Kamala Harris pledges increased US trade with Tanzania
- This visit by VP Harris is expected to encourage US investment in Tanzania through trade, which already the office of the Vice President has pledged to do.
- US Lifezone Metals to set up second cobalt, nickel refinery plant in Tanzania
The trip to Tanzania by US Vice President Kamala Harris is already bearing fruit with the US announcing plans to increase trade with the country.
Air Force 2 landed in Tanzania late Wednesday where the US second in command was received in a colourful ceremony at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in the commercial port city of Dar es Salaam.
Her host, Tanzania president Samia Suluhu Hassan who was herself Vice President less than two years ago, hosted Vice President Harris at the State House fondly known in Swahili as Ikulu. Vice President Kamala Harris is in Tanzania on a three-day state visit after completing the first leg of her Africa tour in Ghana on Tuesday.
This visit by Vice President Harris is expected to spur US investment in Tanzania through trade, which already the office of the Vice President has pledged to do.
Other areas of investment include tourism, education, health, agriculture, environment, information and communication technology (ICT), and of course regional security.
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Vice President Harris, the first woman to serve as U.S. vice president, held talks with Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan, the first female president of the country on Thursday which resulted in increased US trade among other pledges.
The two leaders first met last year in Washington when Vice President Kamala Harris hosted Tanzania president Samia Suluhu Hassan. These back-to-back meetings are a clear show of support to Tanzania from Washington and ongoing efforts by the United States to bridge relation gaps on the continent.
As part of these efforts, the US announced plans to improve trade with Tanzania, a much-welcome pledge in a country that is looking to increase foreign investment across several sectors of its economy.
Vice President Harris announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) and the government of Tanzania signifying US support for increased trade with Tanzania. The MoU will facilitate a $500 million in U.S. export financing to Tanzania.
The funding will help support exports of goods and services in sectors including infrastructure, transportation, digital technology, climate and energy security, and power generation, read an official government statement released to the media.
The US government will also facilitate the construction of a new cobalt and nickel processing plant sought by US-based LifeZone Metals.
The processing plant by LifeZone Metals will create much-needed employment, especially for youth, and revitalize the mining and processing industry.
“The facility will use low-emission technology to process nickel and other minerals mined in Tanzania with a view to delivering battery-grade nickel to the United States by 2026,” Harris’s office announced.
These plans are in line with the long-term expected cobalt and nickel mining and refining plans that were announced a while back.
Vice President Harris has also congratulated President Samia Hassan for spearheading the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination drive. Tanzania has achieved a milestone having reported that it has vaccinated more than 50% of its population.
“We welcome the progress that you have made during the course of your leadership and, in particular, the work you have done to empower women leaders in Tanzania and the work you have done to support human rights,” Vice President Harris told President Samia Hassan.
At that meeting several large US companies pledged to invest over US$1 billion in Tanzania in the coming years and the Great Lakes region.
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Lifezone Metals: Investing in cobalt mining and processing in Tanzania
Lifezone Metals operates in Tanzania under the subsidiary Kabanga Nickel Limited which in turn has formed a share partnership company with the government of Tanzania called Tembo Nickel Corporation.
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Tembo Nickel Corporation Limited (Tembo Nickel) was formed in January 2021 for the development of the Kabanga nickel deposits in the Ngara District of Northwest Tanzania. This project is formally established for the mining, processing, and refining of Class 1 nickel with cobalt and copper co-products.
Tembo Nickel is owned 84% by Kabanga Nickel Limited, and 16% by the government of Tanzania.
As mentioned, in this shared partnership, Tanzania enjoys 16% non-contributory equity ownership that will benefit Tanzania over the life span of the project.
“This arrangement has been set up to ensure an effective partnership to equitably share economic benefits between Tanzania and the investor,”
Kabanga Nickel Project adopts a hydrometallurgical processing technology that is more cost-efficient than smelting and has a significantly lower environmental impact.
The project is a mine-to-metal operation meant to produce high-purity battery-grade nickel, copper, and cobalt refined metals. It is for this purpose that Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit has pushed for the opening of a second refining plant for the project.
“As the world shifts towards electric vehicles, Lifezone, with the Tembo Nickel partnership, aims to prove that greener, more affordable solutions for the energy transition are indeed possible. Automakers have repeatedly stated that the battery metals they use have to be low-carbon,” notes Lifezone Metals Founder and Chair, Keith Liddell said
“As we continue to press forward with project development, we will maintain our commitment to employing and developing local talent, sharing the value we create with the people of Tanzania, and building an effective and lasting partnership with this great country,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of Tembo Nickel, Country Manager Benedict Busunzu, said: “We believe that the Kabanga nickel project is a project of national importance for the country, and its success will be key to attracting further foreign direct investment.”
“ We are concentrating on delivering the many benefits that we expect the Kabanga nickel project will create for Tanzania, including revenue, infrastructure, employment, and skills development,” he said.