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Sandfire secures mining permit for Motheo copper mine in Botswana

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(Kitco News) - Sandfire Resources (ASX: SFR) announced today that the Mining Licence has been granted for its Motheo copper mine in Botswana, representing the final major permitting milestone required for full-scale construction of the project to commence.

The company said that 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.

Initial site works at Motheo commenced earlier this year, with sterilisation drilling, a 15km access road and construction of a 200-person camp already well advanced. Following the award of the Mining Licence, Sandfire said it will now mobilise additional personnel to site to commence construction of the process plant and other infrastructure. Orders have already been placed for all key process equipment and long-lead items.

According to the company’s statement, the T3-Motheo Definitive Feasibility Study, completed in December 2020, confirmed strong economic and technical outcomes from 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, 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, Sandfire added.

The T3-Motheo 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. The Base Case 3.2Mtpa project development was projected to generate US$664 million (A$867 million) in pre-tax free cashflow and US$987 million (A$1,289 million) in EBITDA, at a forecast all-in sustaining cost of US$1.76/lb over its first 10 years of operations.

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