Mowana Mine General Manager, James Arthur, said at a recent ground breaking ceremony that they were on target to start production in early 2008 as the mine continues to achieve milestone after milestone in the long and tedious process that has led to the establishment of the mine.
Speaking at the celebration to mark the ground breaking of a construction site on which the mine will build an initial 50 housing units and a recreational center, the General ManagerGeneral Manager said that they had engaged an independent group as the developers of the project and they hoped to have completed the 50 housing units and associated developments within a 10 month period.
Mowana Mine, he said, would continue to be committed to working with the community, adding that the presence of the Chiefschiefs from the two villages of Mosetse and Dukwi, members of the public and government representatives was proof of their transparency and commitment to consultation. The mine has was recently engaged both villages of Mosetse and Dukwicaught in a bruising crossfire involving a dispute over the naming of the mine. this after a war of words erupted between the neighbouring villages of Mosetse and Dukwi. This culminated in the adoption of a more neutral name of Mowana Mine after complaints by the people of Mosetse that the name Dukwi Mine was more favourable to their counterparts from Dukwi village.
‘”We will continue to keep an eye on the progress of this project and we have communicated with our contractor to ensure that consultations and cordial relations with our hosting community remain a priority,” said James Arthur.
To mark the commencement of the project, the General Managergeneral manager planted two mowana trees at strategic points at the site, one with the Dukwi Chiefchief and the other with the Mosetse Chiefchief.
It was an especially touching moment for ScotlandAustralian born James Arthur, especially since they do not have such trees in their native ScotlandAustralia.
African Copper has engaged Stocker Fleetwood-Bird to act as lead with Sands Civil Services undertaking the construction works under the design of NMA Consulting Engineers.
“The assistance of the Mosetse Brigades, the leaders of the community as well as the regulatory authorities have been instrumental in enabling the project to proceed smoothly thus far and we appreciate all of their efforts,” commented Harry Fleetwood-Bird. “The main contractor will employ in the region of 75 people from the local community. Further construction specialists from the region will add to the total workforce which we expect to peak at 200 people.”
The Mowana Mine is one of two mining operations that form the portfolio of African Copper, a tri listed international exploration and development company whose other interest lies in the Matsitama Project, which contains a large number of prioritized exploration targets. African Copper copper holds a 100% percent stake in the rights to these two properties.
Last year, the Botswana government granted African Copper a 25 -year mining license for the Mowana Mine operations. The license stipulated a 3 percent royalty payable to the Botswana government, which has no stake in the mine’s operations. This marked the beginning of more concerted efforts to keep the targeted date of commencement of production on schedule and a floatation concentrator at the mine has already been designed for a 300 tones per day throughput, producing 44 million pounds of copper concentrate annually at full production. Initial production is expected to be from open pit, followed by underground mining of sulphides.
In May this year, African Copper signed a 5 year mining contract with Moolman Mining.
The contract included mobilization and demobilization of the mining fleet which is expected to consist of 3 face loading shovels, and twenty six 100-tonne haul trucks at full contingent. Mobilization of resources began in July 2007 and is expected to take up to 12 months.
Currently, Moolman has 126 scrapers in operation on site to facilitate the pre stripping of the surface material. This will enable the stockpiling of 180 000 to 210 000 tones of material prior to the commissioning of the 1 million -tones -per -year concentrator which is now under construction.
In June 2007, anticipation was once again heightened by the results of a comprehensive updated material resource estimates for the Mowana Minemine, presented by consultants CaracleCarade Creek International Consultinginternational consulting (CICC), which declared 1717 000 meters of drilling as compared to previously released results of OCTOBEROctober 2006.
African Copper Chief Executive Officer, Joseph Hamilton, recently announced an ambitious expansion program that will see the Companycompany looking to expand operations into other metals and into neighbouring Southern African countries after production has started at their Mowana Mine. Hamilton was quoted as saying that African Copper is hoppinghoping to use the expertise gained at the Mowana minemine’ open cast operation to launch expansionary takeovers in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Congo.
It is expected that initial production at the Mowana Minemine, which lies 120 km north west of Francistown, will commence in the first quarter of 2008 and annual production is expected to have escalated to 20 000 tones by the end of 2008. The mine is said to have the capacity to double production in the next three3 years.