soleThe second Copper Cobalt Africa conference was held in the Mosi-oa-Tunya (Victoria Falls) National Park, Zambia. Recent strong rises in the prices of copper and particularly of cobalt, coupled with increasing international interest in developments in the African Copperbelt, attracted over 300 delegates, representing 22 countries.

Among the highlights were the outstanding keynote speakers. Sokwani Chilembo, CEO of the Zambian Chamber of Mines, discussed the future of Zambian mining that would not only focus on copper, but also include other strategic metals. Caspar Rawles, of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, presented a fascinating analysis of the role of cobalt in the rapidly emerging electric vehicle battery market. Matt Pascal, COO of First Quantum Minerals, gave a provocative and thoughtful analysis of the challenges of mining in Africa. ‘Who moved my cobalt stocks?’ was the title of an insightful presentation by Lara Smith, founder of Core Consulting. Steve Amos of Ivanhoe Mines presented a very interesting update of the giant Kamoa–Kakula project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the largest and highest-grade undeveloped copper deposit in the world, and Bernadette Currie of Ausenco provided an update of the state-of-the-art with respect to urban mining, particularly as concerns recycling of battery materials.

The technical programme comprised 58 papers that showcased advances in exploration, mining, and processing technologies. With the DRC producing more than two-thirds of the world’s cobalt, many presentations described cobalt projects that are in development, ramping up, or recently commissioned. The best papers, presented in this issue of the Journal, reflect the quality and diversity of the conference proceedings.

Tremendous support for this event was received from sponsors, with demand for sponsorship and exhibition opportunities outstripping availability. Networking opportunities were also plentiful in the relaxed environments afforded by a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River and a traditional Zambian-style boma dinner.

Following the undisputed success of the second in this conference series, the SAIMM has great pleasure in announcing that the third Copper Cobalt Africa conference will take place in July 2021.

Some of the dignitaries present at Copper Cobalt Africa 2018

CopperCobaltAfrica2 31072018

L-R: Mooya Lumamba (Director of Mines and Minerals, Zambia), Jackson Sikamo (Chairperson and Country Manager at Chibuluma Mines Plc, Zambia), Sehliselo Ndlovu (then President: SAIMM), Paul Chanda (Permanent Secretary: Zambia Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development), Sokwani Chilembo (CEO Zambian Chamber of Mines), Darius Muma (Zambian Branch Chair: SAIMM), Kathy Sole (Conference Chair: Copper Cobalt Africa 2018).

Kathryn C. Sole (PrEng, PhD, FSAIMM)
Chair of the Organizing Committee: Copper Cobalt Africa