Situated deep in the Ghanzi District, Motheo Copper Mine is finally coming of age with first copper concentrate produced following the introduction of the ore to the SAG mill.
As a result the construction of the mine is coming to a completion with equipment commissioning activities all over 92 percent completion rate to support the initial 3.2 million tonnes per annum processing capacity. Therefore the new mining activity adds up to Khoemacau which has since been operational.
With global prices of copper-nickel prices remaining attractive, opportunities are once more available as copper mines take advantage of the situation. As it stands, copper goes for US$8081.35 per tonne while nickel is going for US$21 035.50 per tonne.
With the Kalahari Copper belt largely under explored for copper and silver, the area is promising and could help Botswana to diversify beyond its mainstay driver of the economy of diamond mining.
The mine which is located approximately 80km north-east of Ghanzi received its mining license in 2021 which paved way for the full scale construction. An open-pit mine developed by Sandfire Resources which is a mining and exploration company based in Australia, the mine has a lifespan of 12.5 years with the development cost estimated at US$396.4 million .
“Achieving this important milestones is an outstanding result for Sandfire and is a tribute to the excellent team that we have at Motheo. First concentrate production at our newest mine signals the start of our ramp up towards the initial 3.2mtpa capacity which we expect to achieve on a sustainable basis during the September quarter of of financial year 2024,”said Sandfire Managing Director, Brenda Harris.
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With almost 39.9 million tonnes of copper reserves available, the processing plant has the capacity of 3.2 million tonnes per annum. However, there are plans for expansion to 5.2 million tonnes with works already at advanced and at 47% completion progress and spending of US$71.9 million. Further, the first shipment of copper from Motheo is expected to take place mid 2023.
“The approval of the A4 project Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) paves the way for the grant of the A4 pit mining license, our attention now turns to the delivery if the rapid low cost expansion in capacity from 3.2 to 5.2 million tonnes per annum by early calendar year 2024,”he said.
Therefore Motheo becomes the second mine situated in the Kalahari Copper belt following Khoemacau which has been operational. Motheo Copper Mine has created employment for over 1700 people on site, with number set to shrink to 600 full time jobs during full production.