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New Deal Brings the Mineral Rich Region of the Congo to World Markets

Ivanhoe Mines and commodities trader Trafigura Group signed deals to transport copper by rail from the Democratic Republic of Congo to neighbouring Angola’s port of Lobito, marking the first long-term deal for the railway project that the US government is backing. Trafigura is part of the consortium that won a 30-year concession to operate the Lobito railroad that could become a key export route for DRC’s fast-growing production of copper and cobalt — both crucial metals for the energy transition. Ivanhoe says the route could drastically cut transport times and lower emissions. Mining companies operating in the copper belt that straddles Congo and Zambia have traditionally trucked their metals down to South Africa’s Durban port. This journey can take more than a month. Lobito promises to cut trip times to less than a week, to an Atlantic port that’s closer to the US and European Union. Both powers are backing the project financially, as part of their efforts to counter China’s heavy influence in the region.