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Botswana grants Sandfire licence for copper mine

Botswana has granted a mining licence to Australia’s Sandfire Resources for its Motheo copper project in Kalahari Copper Belt. The Perth-based miner made the announcement and said the milestone was one of the two major conditions required for finalizing the final permitting process for the US $208million project.

The Kalahari Copper Belt extends for nearly 1,000km from northeast Botswana to western Namibia. The copper mineralisation is hosted within a sedimentary basin or rift similar to the Zambia/DR Congo – Central African Copper Belt. The mineralisation is strata-bound, lying within a contact between two sedimentary units. The strata have been folded, with the fold axis running predominantly NE–SW.

Curbing dependency on diamond mining

The 3.2 million tonnes per annum open pit mine could help Botswana curb its dependence on diamond mining, a sector that accounts for 70% of the nation’s export revenue. Initial site works at Motheo began earlier this year, with sterilization drilling, a 15km access road and construction of a 200-person camp already well advanced.

Sandfire is set to bring additional staff on site to begin construction of the process plant and other infrastructure. The company said that it had already placed orders for all key process equipment and long-lead items.

“We are absolutely delighted to now be in a position to move to full-scale construction at Motheo. I would like to thank the Government of Botswana for their support throughout the approvals process, which will see Motheo come on-stream in 2023 as one of very few new copper mines commencing production globally,” said managing director and CEO Karl Simich.

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