Sandfire Resources ramps up at Motheo in Botswana after mining licence issued for $364m project

Sandfire Resources says it remains on track for first copper production from its $US279 million ($364m) Motheo mine in Botswana in early 2023 after securing a mining licence for the proposed operation (reports The West Australian).
9th July 2021
Resources Rising Stars

The permit comes ahead of an updated mineral resource for the company’s satellite A4 deposit in coming weeks, which will allow Sandfire to boost throughput from Motheo from 3.2 million tonnes per annum to 5.2mtpa.

A definitive feasibility study for the project in December 2020 estimated Motheo’s T3 deposit would be a 12.5-year operation, producing on average 30,000t of copper and 1.2 million ounces of silver a year over the first 10 years of operations, with relatively low capital intensity and robust operating margins.

However, incorporating the A4 deposit could allow Sandfire to boost copper to 40,000-5000t.

Perenti’s African Mining Services has been handed a seven-plus year, $648m mining contract for the T3 open pit at Motheo.

The Botswanan government has a right to acquire up to 15 per cent of T3-Motheo but has not yet notified Sandfire of its intentions.

Sandfire’s managing director Karl Simich described the mining licence as a major milestone that would see a significant increase in construction and development activities on site.

“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 extensive ground spanning Botswana and Namibia,” he said.

Motheo represents one of the few commercial-scale copper mines in development stage in what is becoming a supply-constrained market for the red metal.

Copper production from Sandfire’s flagship DeGrussa project near Meekatharra is expected to end next year with the company planning to extend the life of its plant by retreating tailings and processing gold ore from its Old Highway deposit.

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