African Copper, the mine resource outfit, is passionately awaiting for its mining license following the board of director’s approval for mine construction at Dukwi last month, the company said last week.
The application, which is still being considered by the Department of Mines, is expected to pave the way for the opening of a new copper mine that will be in operation in the first half of 2008.
“We have submitted their mine license application and have since asked them to clarify certain technical issues before we can approve the license,” acting director of Department of Mines Kgomotso Abby, said Friday.
“We’ll be discussing some of the issues with them as and when the need arises,” he added.
The budding copper miner is listed on Botswana, London and Toronto stock exchanges and has successful raised cash for mine construction. The proposed Dukwi mine is some 100 kilometers north west of Francistown and it also has some exploration rights up to Matsitama and Makala areas.
The Company has received a Water Extraction Permit to draw process water from its bore field about 15 kilometers north of the Dukwe deposit.
This Water Extraction Permit provides sufficient quantities of water to support all planned plant and mining operations. In addition, surface rights have been granted subject to the issuance of the Mining License. Conditional archeological discharges have been provided by the National Museum.
Final comments have been received from the Department of Environmental Affairs regarding the Environmental Impact Assessment (“EIA”) and the Environmental Management Plan (“EMP”).
The Company has addressed these comments and approval of the EIA and EMP is expected in conjunction with the granting of the Mining License.
The flotation concentrator at Dukwe has been designed for a 3000 tonne per day throughput producing approximately 44 million pounds of copper in concentrate at full production.
It is planned that initial production will be sourced from the near surface supergene material that can produce a clean and marketable quality concentrate. Locked cycle tests indicated excellent recoveries of 86% using a two-stage sequential flotation. Pilot plant tests are underway and should be completed by the end of September.
Preliminary metallurgical tests on the oxide material are being reviewed by the Company and further oxide flotation optimization tests are underway.
These results are sufficiently encouraging that the Company is re-examining the oxide resource as potential mill feed. Previous studies had left oxide material in-situ as a crown pillar to the proposed underground mine.
As a result, African Copper has retained RSG Global Consulting (“RSG”) to complete a resource estimate for the consolidated Dukwi mineralization. Previous resource estimates examined either the oxide and supergene mineralization or the sulphides, but not both.
RSG supervised a comprehensive diamond drill programme at Dukwi over the past 15 months which included a twin hole drill programme to validate historical data and a 38,000 metre diamond drill programme. Results of the RSG estimate are expected shortly.
The coarse grained semi-massive to disseminated nature of the sulphide mineralization at Dukwe has the potential to lead to estimation errors.
For this reason, the Company has commissioned Caracle Creek International Consulting (CCIC) to prepare a parallel resource estimate utilizing the same database.
The use of two globally recognized independent consultants should allow the Company to finalize the resource base that is available to support an extended mine life at Dukwi.