Sandfire Resources is closer to finalising a contract with Perenti subsidiary African Mining Services (AMS) at the Motheo copper mine in Botswana after securing the mining licence for the operation.
With an estimated value of US$496 million ($648 million), the contract for the T3 pit at Motheo will last an initial term of seven years and three months, with a provision for a one-year extension.
Initial site works at the T3 pit in Botswana commenced earlier this year, with a 15-kilometre access road, sterilisation drilling and construction of a 200-person camp under construction.
With this week’s awarding of a mining licence by the Government of Botswana, additional personnel will be deployed to Motheo to begin construction on the process plant and other infrastructure.
It is one of the final two conditions that needed to be met before the contract with AMS could be finalised.
Sandfire managing director and chief executive, Karl Simich, said the project is a boon for the local community, with plenty of job opportunities created through the Motheo project.
“Motheo is expected to generate approximately 1000 jobs during construction and 600 full-time jobs during operations, and represents the foundation for Sandfire’s long-term growth plans in Botswana,” Simich said.
“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.”
Coinciding with the contract approval, AMS is working to identify a suitable local Botswana organisation or organisations as partners for the project.
Sandfire remains on track to commence mining at Motheo in early 2022, with the aim to deliver first production in 2023.
The T3-Motheo definitive feasibility study, completed in December 2020, confirmed strong economic and technical outcomes from an initial base 3.2-million-tonne-per-annum processing capacity and open pit development of the deposit.
Initially expected to be a 12.5-year operation, Motheo is forecast to produce 30,000 tonnes of copper and 1.2 million ounces of silver per annum of the first 10 years of operations.