Australian firm A-Cap Resources has applied for a licence to open what would be Botswana’s first uranium mine with a capital expenditure of $351 million, the firm said on Friday.
Botswana is estimated to hold around 1.04 billion tonnes in uranium reserves, in the central part of the country, and the government has issued prospecting licenses in the last decade although no production has taken place.
The exploration firm said results of technical studies showed the project would produce up to 3.75 million pounds of the ore in the first five years of its projected 18-year life.
The project was ideally located near roads, a railway network and power supply, the company said a statement, and was also on the site of one of the largest uranium deposits in the Africa, with estimated deposits of 261 million pounds.
A resurgent uranium price meant the project, where explorations started in 2006, was viable, the firm said.
Global uranium production had stalled recently due to depressed prices, curtailing exploration activities and the opening of new mines.
Spot uranium prices slumped over 12 percent in the past three quarters before bouncing back to a 5 month-high of $37.25 per pound in September.
Uranium was first discovered in Letlhakane in 2006 and since then, A-Cap has defined it as a globally significant resource. In order to achieve production, A-Cap is currently undertaking a Bankable Feasibility Study, which is expected to be completed next year. In addition, the company is continuing with its active exploration programme across its 6,000km tenement portfolio in the Central District. The company says that the water supply for Letlhakane will come from a bore-field located approximately 25km to the west of the project.