Sandfire Resources will move forward with the commercial development of the T3 Motheo copper-silver project in Botswana, Africa after approving a $US259 million ($351 million) investment.
This is a key step in the Perth-headquartered company’s international growth, with the final investment decision based on a positive definitive feasibility study (DFS).
The DFS outlined an initial mine life of 12.5 years and ore reserve of 39.9 million tonnes at 0.9 per cent copper and 12.2 grams per tonne of silver.
This would see Sandfire produce an average of 30,000 tonnes of contained copper and 1.2 million ounces of contained silver annually over the first 10 years of operations.
Sandfire managing director and chief executive officer Karl Simich said the decision to invest into building a long-term copper production hub in Botswana would transform the company into a globally diverse company.
“This is an exciting step. We have given the green light to the development of a new, long-life copper operation based on the T3 open pit, which we envisage will become the core of our Moetho production hub,” Simich said.
“This is, in effect the dawn of a new global copper province, as evidenced by the scale of the new underground mining operation currently being constructed immediately to the north-east of our project by Cupric Canyon Capital at their Khomacau project.
“We are making a significant upfront investment in several key infrastructure items, including the primary crusher and flotation cells, which will allow us to up-scale the project quickly from 3.2 million tonnes per annum to 5.2 million tonnes per annum with relatively modest incremental capital investment.”
Sandfire’s schedule is to start mining at T3 on January 1 2022 then commence processing and the ramp-up on January 1 2023.
During this time, Sandfire aims to expand the Motheo hub to the 5.2 million tonne per annum goal.
The company anticipates it will be well positioned to commit to the expansion during the T3 project construction, to then ramp up to the higher production rate shortly after commissioning.