Power Infrastructure Key For Botswana Mining

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BCL’s copper deposit in Selebe Pikwe, Botswana

Those aiming to invest in Botswana as a mining destination need to consider installing power lines and improving transport, says mining consultancy Core Consultants MD Lara Smith, who says the landlocked country faces significant infrastructure challenges that affect its mining sector.

She tells Mining Weekly that TSX- and BSE-listed Hana Mining, a prospective copper producer in the region, might be considering a partnership with the Botswana government to erect a power line for its in-country operations.

In February last year, private equity firm Cupric Canyon Capital successfully acquired Hana Mining, which included the company’s copper mining division Hana Ghanzi.

Hana Ghanzi holds five prospecting licences for its Ghanzi Project, in the centre of the Kalahari Copperbelt, in north-western Botswana, covering 2 149 km².

According to a report titled ‘Botswana Resource Sector Overview 2013/14’, which was issued in 2013 by UK-based investment company Capital Resources, Cupric plans to complete a feasibility study this year, “as the company foresees significant resource potential in openpit and underground operations”.

The report states that a preliminary economic assessment of parts of the area, specifically Banana Zone and Zone 5, was completed in May 2012. The assessment detailed a 10 000 t/d openpit mining and milling operation that would result in projected output of about 66.4-million pounds of copper and 878 000 oz of silver a year over a minimum 13-year life of mine (LoM).

Meanwhile, Smith tells Mining Weekly that, in addition to developing its copper sector, Botswana is placing greater emphasis on developing its coal sector, with the view of using coal as feedstock for its power stations.

She adds that Botswana-focused uranium hopeful A-Cap Resources is also developing uranium operations in Lethlakane, in Botswana’s Central State. According to Capital Resources’ report, the Lethlakane area is one of the world’s top ten underdeveloped uranium projects and one of only four capable of starting production in the next five years. First production at the mine is expected in the second quarter of 2016, with a yearly output of three-million pounds of uranium-oxide and an LoM of more than 20 years.

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