WA's Sandfire Resources is making progress on the development of its $364 million Motheo copper project in Botswana, having now secured the mining licence.
Western Australia’s Sandfire Resources is making progress on the development of its $364 million Motheo copper project in Botswana, having now secured the mining licence.
Sandfire is proposing an initial 12.5-year operation at the Motheo project’s T3 deposit, through its Tshukuda Metals subsidiary.
The T3-Motheo mine is expected to boost Sandfire’s overall copper production capacity by an initial 3.2 million tonnes per annum, ahead of a planned expansion to 5.2mtpa.
Sandfire, which runs the DeGrussa operations in WA, gained the project through its acquisition of MOD Resources in 2019.
The Karl Simich-led business can now begin full-scale construction after securing the T3-Motheo mining licence from the Botswana government.
Sandfire began initial works earlier this year, including sterilisation drilling and the construction of a 15-kilometre access road and a 200-person camp.
Further construction crew are expected to mobilise to the Motheo site within the next few days.
As part of the licence, the Botswana government can earn up to a 15 per cent contributing stake in T3-Motheo. It has not yet notified Sandfire of its intention to do so, however.
The operation will take two years to develop, Sandfire says, with mining to begin early next year.
Commissioning and ramp up is scheduled for early 2023.
Sandfire expects the mine will create an estimated 1,000 jobs during construction and 600 full-time jobs during operation.
Mr Simich said the business planned to be a major long-term player in Botswana’s Kalahari copper belt.
“I would like to thank the government of Botswana for their support through the approvals process, which will see Motheo come on-stream in 2023 as one of very few new copper mines commencing production globally,” he said in an ASX announcement.
“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.”
The mining licence follows the appointment of Perenti subsidiary African Mining Services to the project in early June.
AMS, through an estimated $US496 million contract, is set to complete open pit mining services to the T3 deposit for a little more than seven years.
The contract includes a one-year extension option and requires AMS to partner with a Botswanan company, through a 70:30 joint venture.
Perenti says AMS is making progress on identifying suitable JV partners.
The T3-Motheo project, which holds a pre-tax net present value of $US316 million, was approved for development by the Sandfire board in December last year.
Sandfire generated close to $650 million in revenue in the last financial year, making it WA's 11th-largest public resources company according to Business News' Data & Insights.
In the US, Sandfire is planning to develop the Johnny Lee copper deposit (as part of its Black Butte project) in central Montana.
The company also holds exploration tenements in WA and in the eastern states.
Its shares closed up 1 per cent today to trade at $6.89 each.