Following the suspension of its operations at Mowana Mine mid last month, the mining contractor, Diesel Power Limited has approached the High Court to have Messina Copper (Botswana), a subsidiary of African Copper liquidated. The Court is set to make its decision on the matter on 19 November 2015.
Minister responsible for Minerals, Kitso Mokaila said Monday that Messina Copper (Botswana) has been experiencing internal operational challenges which included excessive waste stripping in the low copper grade that affected mining performance at their Thakadu Mine. Thakadu Mine has not been operating since February this year which has reportedly resulted in limited ore supply to the Mowana mine plant.
On Monday Mokaila confirmed that Messina Copper (Botswana) has since notified government of its intentions to suspend operations at its Mowana operations in accordance with Section 47 of the Mines and Minerals Act pending the outcome of the court application. Mokaila said Monday that he troubled copper miner has been battling declining copper prices since 2008. The world copper price is currently at a six year low and the last time copper price sat below US$6,000/tonne was in 2009.
Currently the world copper price is at $2.30 per pound whilst during the same period 12 months ago the copper price was at $3.12 per pound. At the same time, African Copper’s latest financial results show that the company recorded a loss of $8.8 million (P89 million) for the six-month period ended September 30, 2014, compared with a loss of $29.1 million for the corresponding period in 2013.
Messina Copper (Botswana) last week suspended operations at the Mowana Mine, putting close to 400 workers on paid leave until the High Court make its ruling on the liquidation case. The case came after Mowana Copper Mining submitted a payment plan to Diesel Power Limited, one of the contractors, which rejected the plan and sought court intervention.
“Messina Copper was served with court papers on 10 November 2015 and the application shall be heard on 19th November 2015 at the High Court.”, Mokaila confirmed Monday.
Mowana mine is located on the outskirts of Francistown.