New copper mine targets 2015 production
Copper exploration company Craton Mining and Exploration says it is in the final stages of applying for a mining licence for its Omitomire deposit located 120km northeast of Windhoek.
Craton, a wholly owned subsidiary of Australian mineral explorer International Base Metals Limited, has already finalised its Environmental Impact Assessment report and now awaits public feedback next week before applying for a mining licence before the end of this year.
Craton acting country manager Andre Genis told the Economist on Wednesday that production at the Omitomire Mine should start by the end of 2015 subject to early government approvals of the project.
Despite the deposit being a small mining operations with a low grade ore of 0.93% copper, Genis said Craton’s parent company had given its blessings for the US$40 million project to go ahead as the project was profitable at a long term price of US$3.30 per pound.
Construction of the mine and plant, which will process about 480,000 tonnes of ore per annum, will take about a year to complete. The life of mine is projected at just under 7 years.
According to the company’s Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) completed in September, three near surface oxidised deposits can be successfully mined and the ore processed to produce around 25.5 000 tonnes of rough copper metal plate and copper concentrate throughout the life of mine. Genis said: “We have been exploring since 2007. We investigated a larger sulphide mine at Omitomire and developed a total pre-feasibility study and based on the copper prices those days, this was not viable. There was a decision to look at the near surface oxide and that we have now taken through to a DFS and that has been found viable. “We had been very adamant that we would not apply for a licence or take this project further unless we are serious about building a mine.” Craton said potable water for use at the Omitiomire mine will be supplied from boreholes on site while power will be supplied through the upgrading of the existing NamPower supply. Genis said the project will employ more than 160 people during the construction phase while 140 jobs will be created once mining operations start. Besides exploration at Omitomire, Craton is also exploring at a number of different sites across the country including north of Opuwo where it is prospecting for tantalum. In total, the exploration company has 11 EPLs throughout the country were it is prospecting mainly for copper.