Saturday, February 27, 2021

Uranium mine exits the BSE

Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) is set to lose another company after shareholders voted to delist the uranium explorer, bringing down the number of companies listed on the local bourse which has been losing participants that it has been adding.

The Australian miner A-Cap, listed on the BSE’s venture capital board, will be exiting the local stock market following decision by major shareholders to delist. The junior mine explorer listed in 2006 and though it’s not listed on the main board, the loss of A-Cap is a set back for one of Africa’s most resilient stock exchange, which last year lost two major companies, Wilderness Holdings Limited and Furnmart, after they delisted.

The BSE has not listed any company since Seed Co and Banc ABC in 2018. However, the bourse chief executive officer Thapelo Tsheole has revealed that there are indications that several unlisted candidates  restructuring and prepare for listing in the year ahead.

The delisting of the country’s first uranium explorer comes almost a year after the company revealed that the ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security has approved amendment to the programme of works of the Letlhakane Uranium Project to delay the construction of the mine, which would have been first of its kind in the country. The approval came after A-Cap wrote to the government to notice the amendment, as well as subsequent meeting held with the country’s department of mines. The commencement of the pre-construction and construction of the mine has now been slated for October 2021.

A-Cap was granted a mining Licence designated ML 2016/16L  in 2016 over a portion of Letlhakane, with the mining licence is valid for a period of 22 years. It was revealed that demarcation of the licence boundary commenced a month after the licence was granted following comprehensive consultations with stakeholders and public community meetings.

During that time, the company said  it had commenced staged project optimisation activities to improve recovered uranium grade and reduce process costs. The optimisation works’ primary objective was to further de-risk the project prior to undertaking any further feasibility work in 2017, which was supposed to include  trial mining and pilot plant.

The $351 million project lies adjacent to Botswana’s  main North-South infrastructure corridor that includes a sealed all-weather highway, railway line and the national power grid, all of which make significant contributions to keeping the capital cost of future developments low.

The mining licence was granted on the basis of the results of an Environmental Impact Statement and technical study based on shallow open pit mining expected to produce up to 3.75 million pounds of uranium per annum over a mine life of 18 years.

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