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

Typical Kalahari vista

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.