Monday, June 1, 2020

Khoemacau copper project gets a shot in the arm

When it comes to mining sustainably, Johan Ferreira says nothing beats getting it correct right at the beginning. “Timing is king,” he says as a matter of fact.

Knowledge of the ore, he says is also equally important as is having sufficient capital to get that ore off the ground.

The biggest of the pitfalls that miners have stumbled on, he says often stem from a wrong or insufficient knowledge of the ore leading to wrongful designs.

The Chief Executive of Khoemacau Copper Silver project has every reason to be elated.

His company has been able to circumvent or better sill avert all such pitfalls

This week Khoemacau announced that they have just raised over P6 billion to complete associated mining infrastructure projects that will see Khoemacau, one of the country’s biggest known reserve complexes join production line.

This is more than enough needed capitalization to see the project get into production.

The company is also at a stage with they feel confident that they have sufficient knowledge of the ore to go full speed with mining.

“We will be zealously moving ahead with construction,” he said.

And already contractors are ready to proceed, he said.

The fact that the miner now has in excess the amount of capital needed gives them added options going forward  that includes using extra cash to defray to past debts.

The mere fact that Khoemacau has been able to raise more capital than is needed, says Ferreira is enough vote of confidence on the project, the resource, the people running the project as well as the systems already put into place to see it to fruition.

“It is not easy to get such confidence. It says a lot about the team, the country and indeed quality of the grade,” said Ferreira.

If everything goes according to plan, Khoemacau will in the next two years become Botswana’s biggest copper and silver producer. The project is based around Toteng, beyond Maun in the North West.

The mine, said Ferreira will be modern and fully mechanized.

“Safe, reliable and merchandised,” is a mantra he keeps repeating to underscore how the operation will be.

The project which Ferreira says is of immensely good grade copper and silver will be managed and run as a complex of multiple stand alone mines.

The money will be used to build access road and associated infrastructure.

There will also be further studies on the ore to get more feasibility studies on line with intension of future expansion.

Ferreira says based on the current projections, the future looks good as China will continue to grow as a market.

The revolution of electric cars also provides added demand opportunities.

“Going forward there is going to be a shortage of both copper and silver. There are very few deposits. Most of the mines are getting deeper and more expensive to mine. So for us the timing could not be better,” he said.

Fortuitously  for Khoemacau the time to mine almost dovetails with a huge electrification project by Botswana Power Corp[oration that will bring power to manageable distance of the project.

Other mines in the area had to use diesel, thereby undermining viability through high costs.

“We have a good relationship with BPC and we are well informed of how their project is going so that we also can better manage our schedule,” says Boikobo Paya, Khoemacau Executive Director.


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Sunday Standard May 24 – 30

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of May 24 - 30, 2020.