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BEV Initiative: the DRC government and Buenassa company to set up a cobalt and copper refinery in Lualaba

3 May, 2024
BEV Initiative: the DRC government and Buenassa company to set up a cobalt and copper refinery in Lualaba

Kolwezi, May 3, 2024 (ECA) - During the 5th edition of the Katanga Business Meeting (KBM) held in Kolwezi (May 3-4, 2024), Buenassa company announced the receipt of a US$3.5 million from the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This grant from DRC's Industry Promotion Funds represents the first installment for the financing of the development of Buenassa's copper and cobalt refinery project (hydro-metallurgical plant).

The company's plan indicates that the project will be developed in the province of Lualaba and should be operational by the end of 2027. During the first phase, it envisions the annual production of 30,000 tonnes of copper cathodes and 5000 tonnes of cobalt sulfate.

According to Buenassa Founder and Managing Director Eddy Kioni, “this project will play a key role in the development of an integrated value chain around the processing of batteries and electric vehicles, in line with the Government's commitment to promote responsible industrialization and green regional economic development with a lasting positive impact on local communities, with the support of its partners including ECA”.

The grant and the announced launch of the refinery represent a decisive turning point in the materialization of the BEV initiative, now that the pre-feasibility study for the Special Economic Zone in the DRC and Zambia has been finalized. The DRC’s Government identifies its support to the Buenassa project as a strategic choice contributing to the implementation of the country's Industrialization Master Plan: “the support given to the Buenassa refinery project reflects the Congolese Government's commitment towards promoting local beneficiation and sustainable transformation of the country’s rich endowment in mineral resources, by encouraging synergies between the public and private sectors. Supporting this initiative will lay the foundation towards ensuring a coherent development of the battery value chain. The Buenassa Project represents an important achievement ensuring the development of an intermediate value-added stage between mining and the production of battery precursors” said the Minister of Industry of the DRC, Julien Paluku.

ECA salutes an initiative which confirms the commitment of the DRC Government and its partners, particularly the private sector, to contribute to the development of the battery and electric vehicles value chain. “ECA remains strongly committed to pursue the materialization of the BEV initiative in the DRC. We congratulate the Government of the DRC for the initial installment financing the development of the Refinery Project. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our committed institutional partners and to call on private-sector operators to join us in this innovative initiative towards sustainable transformation of africa’s economies”, said Jean Luc Mastaki, Director of the ECA's Sub-Regional Office for Central Africa.

Since the launch of the BEV initiative in 2021, the Government of the DRC has shown a strong political commitment towards the effective implementation of the recommendations of the DRC Business Forum, as underlined by the the DRC's Minister of Industry, Julien Paluku: “The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Félix Antoine Tshisekedi, urges for the local beneficiation and value addition to critical minerals the country is well endowed with. This recommendation is a key pillar of his presidential program for the prosperity of the Congolese people, as well as of his national security strategy. The president’s call will find effective responses through investments such as the Buenassa initiative”.

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Zacharie Roger MBARGA - Communications Officer
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
No 637, rue 3.069, Quartier du Lac, Yaounde, Cameroon
Phone: (+237) 222504348