Botswana’s first uranium mine has been cleared to start construction after the government granted Australian company – A-Cap Resources, with a mining licence. A few months ago, Letlhakane uranium mine got an environmental nod after the government approved its environmental impact assessment (EIA).
The much awaited mining licence signed by Botswana’s Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (MMEWR), Kitso Mokaila came into effect on September 12, 2016, and the open pit mine is projected to run for 18 years.
A statement released by the company states that the company remains well funded to progress to the next stage of pre-feasibility study. The Letlhakane uranium mine will produce 3.75 million pounds annually. It is “one of the world’s largest undeveloped uranium deposits” with a JORC-compliant resource of 365.7 million pounds U3O8, with a high-grade resource of 103.8Mt at 450 parts per million (ppm).
A few months ago A-Cap CEO Paul Thomson stated that they have been conducting extensive work over the years “in studying and identifying the overall environmental and social impacts associated with developing the first uranium mine in Botswana.”
The Botswana Chamber of Mines Chief Executive Officer Charles Siwawa opined that “Botswana has an estimated 822 million tonnes of uranium and (likely) 200-billion tonnes of coal,” adding that such untapped reserves could provide immense opportunities for Botswana seeing that nuclear power generation regionally, and mostly around the world, is likely to become an attractive form of energy in the future. A surge in demand for nuclear power generation comes in handy for Botswana as it would mean an increase in demand for uranium and the potential to export to outside countries.
In the last decade, the government has issued prospecting licences although no production has taken place.