African Copper, the Botswana, Toronto and London stock exchange tri-listed copper prospecting company, has been given the green light to start mining its finds around the Dukwi area- a move which will put it into a transition period and enable it to seriously work on its finds.
A top official at the Department of Mines, Nchisi Mmolawa, told The Sunday Standard that the company got its mining license at the end of last year and this will enable it to buy what it wants.
“It is all green for the company and they can buy anything they want,” he said.
The license covers an area size of 10 km2 but does not include prospecting areas such as the Old Thakadu.
The budding copper miner is listed on Botswana, London and Toronto stock exchanges and has successfully raised cash for mine construction. The proposed Dukwi Mine is some 100 kilometers west of Francistown and it also has exploration rights up to Matsitama and Makala areas.
A leading resource sector brokerage company, Capital Securities, said Thursday that the awarding of a mining license puts African Copper in a transition stage, from being a prospecting company to a full-fledged miner.
“What it means basically is that African Copper is in a transition period and its share price is likely to re-rate,” an analyst at Capital Securities, Leutlwetse Tumelo, said.
He said the move would have some added benefits to Dukwi and surrounding areas ÔÇô including Francistown ÔÇö in terms of job opportunities and property market in the country’s second largest city.
The company has said it does not intend to build a town for its 12-year life ÔÇôspan mine but it will ferry its employees by buses 100 kilometers southeast into Francistown in a bid to support the city’s local economy.
“I think this is the last chance for retail investors to buy African Copper’s shares before it commissions the mine,” Tumelo said.
According to the plan, the mine construction is expected to be completed within 18 months from the beginning of this year. And production is expected by mid next year, at the latest.
That will come with some added benefits for government, as it will collect taxes and royalties calculated at around three percent of the total revenue generated from the mine on annual basis.
Further, the company has indicated that it has received a Water Extraction Permit to draw process water from its bore field about 15 kilometers north of the Dukwi 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. 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 flotation concentrator at Dukwi 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 percent, using a two-stage sequential flotation.
The Company is reviewing preliminary metallurgical tests on the oxide material 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 and this included a twin hole drill programme to validate historical data and a 38,000-metre diamond drill programme.
The coarse grained semi-massive to disseminated nature of the sulphide mineralization at Dukwi 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.