Trafigura secures $600m financing for cobalt and copper projects in DRC

Commodity trading, metals and mining group Trafigura has reported that the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (TDB) acting as a mandated lead arranger has closed a syndicated USD600 million copper and cobalt development financing facility with Trafigura.

According to the company’s statement, the financing facility will enable the completion of the new mechanized Mutoshi mine and processing plant in Kolwezi, and the expansion of the Etoile mine and processing plant in Lubumbashi, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Trafigura said that the Mutoshi mine, which will become the third largest cobalt mine globally, is expected to start production by the fourth quarter of 2023, with a production capacity of 16,000 tonnes of cobalt hydroxide and 48,000 tonnes of copper cathodes per year.

“An important component of this agreement involves the enhancement of ESG compliance and responsible sourcing awareness and implementation, in line with IFC Performance Standards and OECD Guidelines,” the company noted in a statement. “Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo in particular are endowed with some of the largest reserves of minerals required to catalyze the global energy transition towards a net-zero world.”

In January this year, Trafigura concluded an initial USD600 million financing agreement with Chemaf Resources Ltd and Chemaf SA, a leading vertically integrated copper and cobalt producer in the DRC. Thereafter, TDB and other financial institutions were invited by Trafigura to participate in this secondary syndicated transaction, with TDB as a mandated lead arranger.

Socrates Economou, Head of Nickel and Cobalt Trading for Trafigura, commented, “We’re delighted that TDB and an initial syndicate of banks have chosen to join the facility. We look forward to welcoming additional international and African banks to the syndicate in subsequent rounds of refinancing for these vital developments for the supply of critical minerals and the DRC economy.”

Founded in 1993, Trafigura is one of the largest physical commodities trading groups in the world. Trafigura also owns and operates a number of industrial assets. Trafigura is owned by its employees and employs over 13,000 people working in 48 countries. Established in 1985, the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (TDB) is a regional development finance institution, with investment grade ratings and assets of USD8bn. TDB serves 23 member states in its region, with the mandate to finance and foster trade, regional economic integration and sustainable development, through trade finance, project and infrastructure finance and asset management.

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