Joe Hamilton, the chief executive officer of African Diamond, said last week that the Dukwi mine will be operational by the beginning of next year giving a boost to the economic boom in the northern parts of the country.
“We are expecting production in the first quarter of next year,” he said, pointing out that everything is being fast tracked through P 92 million cash which they have on hand.
“We have no debt, but we are looking at raising once in a bid to expand. We are also looking at the possibility of mergers and acquisition,” he added.
“The global demand for copper remains high and stockpiles of both finished copper concentrate remains tight. We expect the copper price to remain strong over the next three years,” he said.
The copper price sprang to record lows following the intense industrialization of China and India- the two countries which are hungry for the red metal to connect telephone networks and for other industrial purposes.
The company was granted a mining licence over an area of 10 kilometers at Dukwi ÔÇô which is some 100 kilometers west of Francistown. The mine will have much more of a life-span than originally thought due to the fact that it will be possible to do underground mining.
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 percent using a two-stage sequential flotation.
But the mine is expected to produce about 20,000 tonnes of concentrate copper per annum.
However, the initial projects that have been undertaken are also below the then projected costs.
“The open pit portion has an expected life of six ÔÇôto- eight years. Extensive underground resources are expected to extend this life. Indicated underground resources could extend the life to 17 years at current copper prices. The final mining contract is being negotiated now.
“Mining costs are the largest outputs now at the operation. Smelter charges for the treatment of concentrate have being highly volatile over the past two years. Nevertheless, we believe that we can be profitable at spot prices of copper above US $ 3310 per tonne if the mine utilizes the advanced stripping schedule within the open pit,” he added.
African copper also has about 4000 km2 of prospecting area covering Makala, Matsitama and Nakalakwana which has been described as the target area.
Hamilton last week stated that the ore resource indicated the presence of mineralization which does not support a stand alone mine.