Copper, Exploration/Development, Gold, Mining Services, News, Production

Sandfire spending money to make money


The company ended the financial year on a $US53 million (A$83 million) loss, partly owing to the rapid expansion of its operations to Spain and Africa.

Sandfire Resources, which operates the DeGrussa copper-gold project in WA, is looking at expanding its copper footprint in Africa.

The company’s Motheo copper mine in Botswana was constructed in the 2023 financial year (FY2023), with the mine producing its first concentrate in May.

The mine is yet to operate at its initial capacity of 3.2 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa), but Sandfire reports that the ramp-up is well underway, with the mine achieving an average annualised throughput of 2.8Mtpa and a maximum copper recovery of 96 per cent across the first 50 days of FY2024.

In Sandfire’s FY2023 report, the company announced that it was not declaring a final divided as part of a prudent approach to capital management, as it looks to invest in its existing operations.

Among other developments, Sandfire is planning the rapid expansion of Motheo to 5.2Mtpa, set to be completed in the first half of FY2024.

“The rapid and low-cost expansion in capacity to 5.2Mtpa is expected to be completed toward the end of the 2023 calendar year, with the facility to ramp-up across the remainder of FY2024 prior to first ore being produced in the A4 Open Pit in FY2025,” Sandfire chief executive officer Brendan Harris said.

Sandfire will also commence mining for higher grade ore at its A4 open pit at the mine.

“Together, this will see copper production at Motheo increase to more than 50,000 tonnes in FY2025,” the company said.

As part of the expansion, Sandfire has awarded a $US235 million (A$368 million) contract to Perenti for open pit mining services at the Motheo A4 open pit.

“Copper will undoubtedly play an increasingly pivotal role in global mobility, with the proliferation of electric vehicles, and the delivery of carbon emissions free energy, irrespective of its form of generation,” Harris said.

“With a strategic position in two highly prospective copper belts, 50 per cent growth in copper equivalent production projected for our continuing operations across the next two years, and the potential to advance our broader suite of development options, Sandfire is extremely well positioned.”

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