Sandfire gets licence for Motheo copper mine in Botswana

The mine will produce 30kt of contained copper and 1.2Moz of contained silver per annum during the first ten years.

Australian firm Sandfire Resources has secured a mining licence from the Botswana Government for its $279m (A$364m) Motheo copper mine in the Kalahari Copper Belt. The approval marks the final major permitting milestone need for the start of full-scale construction of the project, which is planned to be developed over a two-year period. Sandfire plans to start mining work at the Motheo project in early CY2022, with the first production scheduled for early 2023.

Having already placed orders for all key process equipment and long-lead items, the company will now start construction of the process plant and other infrastructure at the site. The definitive feasibility study of the T3 pit at Motheo mine confirmed strong technical and economic outcomes from an initial 3.2 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) processing capacity and T3 deposit development, the firm said. According to the DFS, which was completed in 2020, the mine has an initial life of 12.5 years. It could annually produce 30kt of contained copper and 1.2Moz of contained silver during its ten years of operational life.

Sandfire Managing Director and CEO Karl Simich said: 

“Our vision is that Motheo will form the centre of a new, long-life copper production hub in the central portion of the world-class Kalahari Copper Belt, where we hold an extensive ground-holding spanning Botswana and Namibia.”

“Sandfire is looking forward to becoming a major long-term player in the Kalahari Copper Belt, which represents one of the last under-explored large-scale copper provinces anywhere in the world.”

The Motheo project is expected to generate around 1,000 construction jobs and 600 full-time jobs once operational. Last month, Perenti secured a $496m contract from Sandfire to provide open-pit mining services at the T3 pit at the Motheo copper project.

Sandfire gets all-clear to build $279m Motheo in another fillip for Botswana copper district

SANDFIRE Resources has met the last regulatory hurdle for construction of the $279m Motheo copper project in Botswana, the company said today. This was after receiving a mining licence for the project from the Botswana Government. Initial site construction is already underway, with the first production due in 2023. According to a definitive feasibility study, the mine will have an initial 12.5-year life, producing on average about 30,000 tons of contained copper and 1.2 million ounces of contained silver per annum over the first 10 years of operations.

“Motheo is expected to generate approximately 1,000 jobs during construction and 600 full-time jobs during operations, and represents the foundation for Sandfire’s long-term growth plans in Botswana,” said Karl Simich, CEO of Sandfire Resources.

As part of the mining licence approval process, the Botswana Government has a right to buy up to a 15% in the Motheo project. It had not yet notified Sandfire of its intention regarding the acquisition of an ownership stake, the company said. The development of the project signifies the emergence of Botswana’s Kalahari as a new copper producing district.

Last week, Khoemacau Copper Mines produced the first copper-silver concentrate from its Boseto process plant in Botswana. The project has the capacity to produce 155,000 to 165,000 tons of high-grade copper and silver concentrate a year, containing 60,000 to 65,000 tons of payable copper and 1.8 to two million oz of payable silver, it said.

“This is particularly remarkable against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic over the last 16 months,” said Johan Ferreira, CEO of Khoemacau Copper Mines in a statement.

Sources: and

2 months ago

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