Sandfire’s additional investment in Botswana’s Motheo copper mine will boost output
Australia’s Sandfire Resources Ltd plans to spend additional $71.9 million to expand production at its under-construction Motheo copper mine in Botswana as it looks to establish a major mining hub in the Kalahari Copper Belt.
Sandfire’s Motheo mine is the second copper mine to be developed in the region, which extends over nearly 1,000 kilometers from northeast Botswana to western Namibia. Expected to initially produce 3.2 million tons per annum (mtpa) of copper by March 2023, the mine will then be expanded — through a new processing plant and a new open pit mine — to produce up to 5.2 mtpa. Sandfire also said on Tuesday (30 August) that since the start of construction it had invested $185.4 million, which represents 47% of the total development cost estimated at $397.4 million.
Production from the base case project remains on schedule for June 2023 and the company said it would ramp up production immediately after receiving environmental and mining approvals for the expansion. “In parallel with this development, we are also continuing a major exploration campaign both in the near-mine area as well as across our extensive landholding in the Kalahari Copper Belt aimed at defining additional ore sources that can feed into our expanded processing hub at Motheo or support the development of new production centers across the region,” Karl Simich, Sandfire’s CEO, said in a statement.
Over its initial 12.5-year mine life, the Motheo copper mine is projected to deliver royalties to the Botswana Government totaling $70 million and corporate income tax in excess of $200 million. Overall, the emerging copper belt could help Botswana diversify its economy beyond its mainstay diamond mining, which contributes 70% to its export revenue.