African Copper, the budding copper miner, said Friday that it is in the process of filling for mining licence for Thakadu areaÔÇöso far the richest find in its huge swathe of┬áexploration landÔÇöas it is working towards building Botswana’s northern copper belt on its concession area.
The┬á budding miner, which is thirsty to push its brownish base metal┬á through the throats of the marketsÔÇöon ┬áa five year off-take arrangementÔÇösaid it is currently engaged in an Environmental Impact Assessment ( EIA) study aimed at leap-frogging its aims of opening a mine in the area.
Thakadu is 70 kilometers south-west of┬á Mowana Mine┬á which is the┬á bell weather of┬á African Copper’s┬á intended exploits in Botswana.
“We are in the process of doing┬á EIA at the moment which I think will take about┬á two-and-half months,” Acting General Manager of Mowana mine, Toindepi Muganyi, said.
So far, Thakadu is the richest find within the basket of African Copper finds,┬á with┬á 5 million┬á tones copper resource at┬á two percent compared to Mowana mine,┬áwhose average copper grade is at 0.71 percent.
“The life-span of Thakadu┬á pen pit┬á mine will be┬á three years,” Muganyi said, adding that┬á there is an┬á upside of going underground but emphasized that it will operate as a satellite mine.
Trucks will have to ferry the ore from Thakadu to the crushers, which are based at┬á Mowana mine.
He said┬á if the Thakadu mine licence is approved by the authorities (Department of Mines) the move┬á is likely to push┬á African Copper to a point where it will be the pioneer or, most probably, “ the northern copper belt” developer in Botswana.
Muganyi further┬á re-affirmed┬á African Copper position that “it is now seeing an upside” in the copper grades at its Mowana mine, which, according to the new valuations, are 20 percent┬á better than originally thought.
The┬á mine is likely to be commissioned before the end of the year, paving the way for the production of┬á 20,000 tonnes of copper per annumÔÇöfrom its┬á initial 1.5 kilometers long strike pit.
According to the plan, African Copper will initially┬á concentrate on the extraction of ore at the Mowana mine on ┬áthe southern tip of the pit, which has an estimated 1.5 percent of copper grades against the pit average of 0.71 percent.
According to the current estimates, the open pit┬á of the mine, which is┬á 20 percent of the┬á ore, is expected to be mined in a space of seven years while the remaining part could be between 20 to 30 years.
Further, there is another proven reserve some┬á 2 kilometers north of the pit┬á while some investigations are ongoing relating to the southern side of the pit which is also thought have some copper.
The pit, which covers some of the historical mining activities believed to have been done by the Europeans some 500 – 700 years ago, ┬áis also rich in gold and silver. The archeological┬á activities run 30 meters deep and about┬á one meter wide.
African Copper is also working┬áon other “blue sky areas”┬á that could┬áadd up to what Muganyi called┬á the “development of┬á another copper belt in the northern Botswana”.
African Copper also has about 4000 km2 of prospecting area covering┬áMakala, Matsitama and Nakalakwana, which has been described as the target area that might need joint venture operations to mine them.