Sandfire goes ahead with Botswana copper mine expansion

Sandfire Resources (ASX: SFR) said on Tuesday it will spend additional $71.9 million to expand production at its under-construction Motheo copper mine in Botswana, as the Australian firm plans to set a major mining hub in the Kalahari Copper Belt.

Motheo mine is the second copper mine to be developed in the region, which extends over nearly 1,000 km from northeast Botswana to western Namibia.

The additional investment will allow Sandfire to boost production at Motheo from the original 3.2 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) to 5.2 mtpa.

Production from the base case project remains on schedule for June 2023 and the company said it would ramp up production immediately after receiving environmental and mining approvals for the expansion.

“In parallel with this development, we are also continuing a major exploration campaign both in the near-mine area as well as across our extensive landholding in the Kalahari Copper Belt aimed at defining additional ore sources that can feed into our expanded processing hub at Motheo or support the development of new production centres across the region,” chief executive Karl Simich said in the statement

The total cost of building Motheo has been pegged at $397 million, with $185 million invested as of the end of July 2022. Over its 10-year mine life, the operation is projected to deliver $70 million in royalties to the Botswana Government and corporate income tax over $200 million.

Separately, Sandfire reported a weaker than expected profit of $111.4 million and told shareholders there would be no final dividend as it assimilates last year’s $1.9 billion acquisition of a Spanish mining complex and the ongoing construction of Motheo.

Construction of offices and camp at Motheo mine. (Image courtesy of Sandfire Resources.)

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