In an update on its Mowana copper project in Botswana, Alecto Minerals says that LSE-listed Capital Drilling Limited has been awarded the contract for drill and blast and is currently mobilising its equipment to site. In the interim – and using a local contractor – the first production blast is expected by the end of this month.
Alecto further reports that Giant Transport Holdings Limited, the mining contractor for the project for an initial period of six months, has begun operations.
Cat ADTs operated by mining contractor Giant Transport on site at Mowana (Photo: Alecto).
After initial commissioning of the process plant, test production has now commenced, producing saleable concentrate up to 28 % copper, which will comprise part of the first tranche of product to be delivered to Fujax Minerals and Energy under a five-year copper offtake contract.
Alecto has also announced the appointment of Vincent (Paddy) Conran – who has over 25 years’ experience in mining and mineral processing – as General Manager for the project
Mark Jones, CEO of Alecto, commented: ““We are moving at speed towards delivering continuous production and first sales at Mowana – meaning that the atmosphere on site is buoyant, particularly given that the first blast is anticipated in just a matter of days. It is significant that we have been able to sign up a company of Capital Drilling’s profile to provide future drill and blast services, and with Giant already on site, our stockpile is increasing. Most importantly, we have switched the plant back on as part of a test phase and this has been a great success, producing saleable copper concentrate.
“We are also delighted to welcome Paddy Conran to the team as General Manager. Paddy’s vast experience running mines in Southern Africa, and particularly his in-depth knowledge of the treatment processes that are applicable to the Mowana project, further strengthens our confidence that we will achieve our near term goals.
“Of course, there are still some hurdles to overcome before we can announce that we are in full scale production, but our project is being de-risked on a continuous basis, and we enjoy fantastic relationships with excellent operational partners, which have the expertise to help us deal with any challenges.”
Alecto announced in December last year its proposed acquisition of Crade Arc Investments, a Botswanan company which owns the past-producing Mowana mine, located in north-eastern Botswana. Mowana, an open-pit operation, was commissioned in 2008 and has a 1,2 Mt/a plant (which Alecto plans to expand).
In terms of the transaction, Alecto will acquire a 60 % interest in the mine. It has also agreed a 10-year management contract for Mowana with its partners and will receive management fees equal to 1,5 % of revenue.
Listed on London’s AIM, Alecto also has projects in West Africa and in Zambia, where it holds the historical Matala and Dunrobin gold mines near Lusaka. It says it is focused on bringing Matala into low-cost production in the near to mid-term.