‘We are excited by Khoemacau’s future with MMG, who share our vision for the expansion'
WITH Johan Ferreira at the helm, Khoemacau has advanced its flagship $1bn copper project in Botswana into a sustainable, long-term operation. Against the backdrop of a global scramble for critical minerals, this was sure to draw outside attention. In late November 2023, the company announced that it would be acquired by Australia-based MMG Limited, a unit of China Minmetals Corporation, China’s largest metals and minerals group. The deal, which is expected to be finalised in the first half of 2024, will give China another foothold in the African minerals space, this one in the emerging copper province of Botswana.
The current management team at Khoemacau, including Ferreira, will remain in place, providing continuity as the operation moves into its next phase. With a pre-feasibility study on the Khoemacau expansion and a solar power project now complete, attention is shifting to a feasibility study aimed at lifting production capacity from 3.65 million tons a year to 8.15Mt/y. This should lead to an increase in payable copper from about 60,000 tons a year to 130,000t/y. In the announcement of the acquisition, Ferreira thanked the current owners “who as custodians of Khoemacau over many years successfully transformed the company from a development idea to a fully-fledged operating copper mine”.
Khoemacau now has a deeper source of capital to tap as it embarks on its expansion. This also fits with Botswana’s drive to diversify its economy from its dependence on diamonds, which for decades underpinned its prosperity.
LIFE OF JOHAN
Ferreira holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Mining) degree from the University of Pretoria. He started his mining career in 1986 with Anglo American as a learner official and progressed to the level of senior vice president operations – South Africa region. He also spent four years running Newmont’s operations in Ghana. For relaxation, he likes to hit the road on his Harley-Davidson.