Khoemacau Copper Mining (KCM) Pty Limited says it has clinched a $50 million (P520 million) loan facility as the first part of funding to develop the Qhoree Copper Mine in Ngamiland.
Proceeds from the loan will be used to fund project development costs and front end engineering in advance of commencing full scale construction in the second half of 2017. The mine, which was previously just known as the Zone 5 project, has been named Qhoree by the company.
KCM, whose parent company Cupric Africa facilitated the deal, will construct an underground mine at its high-grade Qhoree deposit. Dennis Bartlett, Cupric’s chief executive officer said proceeds from the term loan will enable them to continue development work at Khoemacau as they prepare to begin full scale construction of the Starter Project in the second half of 2017. “All design, engineering and permitting work is progressing well and on schedule, bolstering our confidence that production will commence in 2019,” Bartlett said. “We continue to believe that Qhoree, combined with the expansion potential offered by the other deposits within our licence areas, represents perhaps the most attractive new copper project in the world today, with the potential to ultimately achieve copper production in excess of 120,000 tonnes per annum.”
The resource, which is just 30 kilometres away from the closed Boseto Mine, contains 100 million tonnes of ore grading copper and 20 gramme/tonne of silver.
The Qhoree mine will initially feed the near-by Boseto copper
concentrator, which was acquired as part of Cupric’s purchase of Discovery Copper Botswana.
“The Boseto concentrator will be upgraded from its current three million tonnes per annum nameplate capacity to 3.6 million tonnes per annum. Metal production from the Starter Project will average 50,000 tonnes of copper and 1.4 million ounces of silver per annum. The mine is expected to have a minimum life of 25 years and average cash costs of $1.00 per pound,” said the company.
The total cost to develop KCM’s Starter Project is $350 million, with underground mine development being the largest single cost component.
The company says within the next few months, the Botswana Environmental Ministry is expected to approve modifications to KCM’s environmental permits to facilitate processing Qhoree ore at the upgraded Boseto plant. The Botswana Power Corporation is also progressing the development of the high-tension power line that will provide commercial power to the northwest region of Botswana. This power-line project includes a spur line to Boseto and Qhoree, providing low-cost commercial power when KCM starts production in 2019.
Founded in 2010, the US-based Cupric is owned by its management, which includes former Freeport-McMoRan President Timothy Snider, and Global Natural Resource Investments (GNRI), formerly a unit of Barclays until a management buyout in 2015.