New and only copper mine in Botswana begins operation
Khoemacau Mining’s copper mine in Botswana is expected to start production in 2021 with the initial annual output at 60 000 tonnes of concentrate, its executive director John Munro said. It is the newest and only operational copper mine in the country after two other copper mines were closed down.
Cupric Canyon Capital holds a 100% interest in the Khoemacau Copper Project in the Kalahari Copper Belt of Botswana, and in 2015 acquired the adjacent Boseto licenses and mining complex.
Khoemacau Copper Mining now controls a 4,040 square kilometre package across the most prospective region of the Kalahari Copper Belt in Botswana, with ongoing exploration targeting multiple high-grade copper production sources.
“Construction of the project reaches completion around the middle of 2021, and ramp up of production will occur from then through to the end of 2021,” Munro said.
“We expect the majority of the concentrate to end up on the seaborne market with the possibility that a portion could be treated in smelters in southern Africa,” Munro concluded.
Cupric Canyon’s flagship Zone 5 deposit is one of the most significant high-grade copper developments in recent years with a total Mineral Resource of 91,7Mt at 2.1% Cu and 22g/t Ag (in-situ). This forms a subset of the total property sulphide resource of 502Mt @ 1.4% Cu and 17g/t Ag, including high grade deposits in the North East of the property of 185Mt @ 2.0% Cu and 27g/t Ag.
Zone 5 re-defines Botswana’s Kalahari Copper Belt as a key emerging trend in a stable and pro-mining jurisdiction. Cupric has consolidated a core land position over the most prospective portion of this belt and is continuing exploration on several proximal high-grade targets.
The starter project currently under construction will produce more than 155,000 tonnes of copper concentrate at 38% – 42% copper content (more than 60,000 tonnes of copper metal) and 2 million ounces of silver annually.
The starter project development plan now involves the fully mechanised underground mining of sulphide ores at Zone 5 at a rate of 3.65 million tonnes per annum using the upgraded Boseto processing facility for crushing, milling, flotation and production of a high-grade copper silver concentrate.
The long-term plan is to expand Khoemacau to approximately 5.8 million tonnes per annum, via the expansion project whereby a new standalone process plant will be built at Zone 5. The expansion project is expected to produce approximately 100,000 tonnes of copper per annum and 3 million ounces of silver.
METALLURGY AND PROCESSING
The Boseto concentrator will be upgraded from its current 3.0 million tonnes per annum nameplate capacity to 3.6 million tonnes per annum to treat the Zone 5 ores. The ores respond well to conventional sulphide flotation, producing approximately 165,000 tonnes of high-grade copper concentrate at 40% Cu and 375g/t Ag. The concentrate will be road hauled to port for shipping and sale on the international market.
The project requires this plant to be upgraded to process 3.65Mtpa of sulphide copper ore, mined from the Zone 5 mining operation. The upgrades are predominantly required to cater for the Zone 5 ore characteristics and higher throughput, however, the replacement of the scalping and product screens and provision of a Larox filter is included to achieve tonnage and/or quality respectively.