Motheo Copper Mine

Motheo Copper Mine

Motheo represents the foundation for Sandfire’s long-term growth plans in Botswana and is expected to generate approximately 1,000 jobs during construction and 600 full-time jobs during operations. Our vision is that Motheo will form the centre of a new, long-life copper production hub in the central portion of the world class Kalahari Copper Belt, where we hold an extensive groundholding spanning Botswana and Namibia.

The Motheo Copper Mine, where development commenced in FY2021, will initially mine the T3 Deposit, a significant sediment-hosted copper and silver deposit. Located in the underexplored Kalahari Copper Belt in Botswana, the project is supported by our community office in the nearby town of Ghanzi, which is the focal point for managing human resources and community relations in the Ghanzi District.

About Botswana

Botswana is a safe, democratic, politically stable and mining-friendly jurisdiction with a supportive government (rated number 1 in Africa and number 11 globally in overall investment attractiveness by the Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies).

Botswana is committed to further diversifying its resource sector, which currently contributes ~80% of the country’s exports and ~30% of its GDP. The nation has a skilled workforce, good infrastructure and sound mining legislation and environmental controls. There is strong local support for development of the Motheo Copper Mine, with the project able to leverage off extensive local infrastructure and support.

Sandfire’s Board approved the commercial development of the Motheo Copper Mine in December 2020, marking a key step in its international growth and diversification strategy. The Final Investment Decision (FID) was based on the positive results of a Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) on an initial Base Case 3.2Mtpa processing capacity and open pit development of the T3 Deposit.

The DFS outlined a robust initial 12.5-year operation, underpinned by an updated Ore Reserve of 39.9Mt at 0.9% Cu and 12.2g/t Ag for 360,000t of contained copper and 15.6Moz of contained silver, producing on average ~30kt of contained copper and 1.2Moz of contained silver per annum over the first 10 years of operations, with relatively low capital intensity and robust operating margins.

The DFS was based on a forecast copper price of US$3.16/lb, reflecting long-term consensus pricing at the time the feasibility study was completed. Since the completion of the study, the average long-term broker price forecast for copper has increased to US$3.43/lb and the current spot price for copper is around US$4.30/lb.

Full details of the DFS can be found in Sandfire’s ASX announcement, dated 1 December 2020, titled ‘Sandfire Approves Development of new Long-life Copper Mine’.

The Motheo Copper Mine will be developed over a two-year period, with mining to commence in early CY2022 and commissioning and ramp-up scheduled for early CY2023.

Motheo is expected to generate approximately 1,000 jobs during construction and 600 full-time jobs during operations and represents the foundation for Sandfire’s long-term growth plans in Botswana.

As part of the Motheo Mine development, Sandfire has made a significant investment in additional processing capacity and infrastructure, providing a clear pathway to rapidly expand the processing facility to a planned 5.2Mtpa production rate for the Motheo Production Hub to accommodate other ore sources.

The immediate and most advanced expansion opportunity for the expanded 5.2Mtpa Motheo Production Hub is the A4 Deposit, located 8km west of T3.

The A4 Deposit Open Pit Ore Reserve totals 9.7Mt at 1.2% Cu and 18g/t Ag for 114,000t of contained copper and 5.7Moz of contained silver. Supporting the estimation and reporting of the A4 Ore Reserve, Sandfire has completed an internal pre-feasibility study (PFS) for the expansion of the Motheo Processing Plant. The PFS has confirmed the strong business case for development of the A4 Deposit as part of an expanded 5.2Mtpa Motheo Production Hub strategy.

In completing the Expansion Case PFS Sandfire has been able to leverage the work completed for the T3 DFS. The A4 PFS outlines the first additional satellite deposit to the Motheo Copper Mine, expanding plant production from 3.2Mtpa to 5.2Mtpa over its five-year mine life. The ore processing contribution of the A4 Open Pit is five years with estimated copper production contained in concentrate over the life of the A4 Open Pit of 105,000t.

Based on the strong economics of the PFS, Sandfire has moved directly to a DFS for the integration of the A4 Deposit as a source of satellite ore feed for the Motheo Mining Hub.

For more details on the A4 PFS and the combined T3 and A4 operations, refer to the Company’s ASX Announcement, dated 22 September 2021, titled , ‘A4 Ore Reserve and Motheo Expansion PFS‘.

Motheo Copper Mine showing the planning integration of the A4 Deposit as part of an expanded 5.2Mtpa production hub

To see further updates on the progress of the Motheo Copper Mine, visit our ASX Announcements here.

To view our Motheo Project website, click here.