Barminco wins $800m contract at Botswana copper project

Clearing for the Zone 5 mine in Botswana takes place. Image: Cupric Canyon

Underground contractor Barminco has secured a major contract at the Khoemacau copper project in Botswana, Southern Africa.

The Ausdrill subsidiary will help to develop the project’s fully mechanised, 3.6 million tonnes a year Zone 5 sulphide mine with owner Cupric Canyon Capital over the next five years by providing infrastructure, diamond drilling and mine production.

The contract, worth approximately $800 million, was called a “further endorsement of our acquisition of Barminco” in keeping with Ausdrill’s growth strategy, according to Ausdrill managing director Mark Norwell. 

Khoemacau, located in Botswana’s highly prospective Kalahari copper belt, hosts a total sulphide resource of 502 million tonnes at 1.4 per cent copper and 17 grams of silver a tonne.

The Zone 5 deposit hosts a mineral resource of 91.7 million tonnes at 2.1 per cent copper and 22 grams of silver a tonne.

South Africa-headquartered Cupric’s development of Khoemacau took a significant step forward after the company received a $US565 million ($815 million) funding package in April 2019 to help fund the Zone 5 starter project.

The project involves three underground mines producing around 1.2 million tonnes each over the first five years of production. Mining is expected to start at these mines in the first half of 2021.

“In addition to excellent safety, quality and productivity outcomes at Zone 5, success will also be measured by the creation of a highly skilled local workforce through effective training, skills transfer and leading technology programs,” Barminco chief executive officer Paul Muller said.

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