Alecto Minerals plc, the African-focused gold and copper exploration and development company, has appointed a mining contractor to commence mining operations at the Mowana copper project in Botswana. It also reports rapid progress is being made to recommence production at Mowana in the near term.
These latest developments demonstrate the commitment to applying a new approach at Mowana, which will enable it to rapidly leverage the existing Measured and Indicated JORC code compliant mineral resource inventory of 683,000 t copper and the Inferred resource of 945,000 t. Highlights:
- Giant Transport Holdings has been contracted to undertake mining operations at Mowana, for an initial period of six months, with the mining contractor’s site having now been established
To date, two bulldozers, two excavators and five Caterpillar 40-t ADTs have been mobilised to site to augment the company’s own excavator, dozer and wheel loader, with further equipment in transit
- Pit clean-up operations and reverse circulation grade control drilling can now commence testing the near-term production targets Contract for supply of fuel and lubricants signed with first delivery anticipated in the next 2-3 weeks
- Strong recruitment drive underway with an unprecedented response to local recruitment advertisements – an excellent local pool of potential candidates exists and to date [over] 150 positions have been filled
- Higher than usual rainfalls in Botswana over the past few [months] has necessitated the commencement of a de-watering program and this is progressing well
- No impact on the immediate mine plan as the near-term production areas are outside of the flooded areas and therefore continue to be accessible.
Mark Jones, CEO of Alecto: “The arrival of our mining contractor and the earthmoving equipment on site marks the beginning of a very exciting three-month period, which will be characterised by production, sales and renewed activity at Mowana.“We benefit from partnerships with commercial mining entities such as PenMin and, utilising their strong understanding of the project, we have established a new approach at Mowana, which will culminate in the existing plant being upgraded and the management of the project refined to deliver greater production at a lower cost than has historically been achieved, such that production activity is profitable even at depressed commodity prices.
Whilst the water in the pit is not ideal, it does not actually impact our near-term production plans and with funding and metal offtake already secured, we are well placed to progress a rapid start-up. “With grade control drilling due to commence next week, recruitment of key personnel continuing and process plant start-up planned shortly, this project is becoming a tangible reality and I look forward to reporting on our transformation into a copper producer in the near future.”
Alecto Minerals is an African focused, gold and copper exploration and development company quoted on AIM with gold exploration projects in Mali, Botswana, Burkina Faso and Mauritania and a development project with near-term gold production in Zambia.In Zambia, the historical Matala and Dunrobin gold mines have, in aggregate, a 760,000oz Au JORC Code compliant resource estimate in the Measured, Indicated and Inferred categories at an average grade of 2.3g/t Au. Alecto aims to bring Matala into low-cost production in the near to mid-term.
In Botswana, Alecto and its partners have re-modelled the Mowana mine to ensure profitable operations even at depressed commodity prices, leading to an internal estimate for the project’s NPV of $245 million at a copper price of $2.50/lb. Alecto has also agreed a 10-year management contract for Mowana with its partners and will receive management fees equal to 1.5% of revenue.
In Mali, it has secured a number of joint-venture agreements, in-line with its strategy to retain exposure to the value in its African gold exploration portfolio for little or no cost; the Kossanto East project, which has an inferred JORC Code compliant resource estimate of 6.72 Mt grading at 1.14g/t Au for an aggregate of 247,000 oz Au with a cutoff grade of 0.5g/t Au, is under a joint venture agreement with Ashanti Gold Corp; the Kossanto West project is under a joint venture with Randgold Resources; and the 250 km2 Karan gold project in southern Mali is under joint venture with Cora Gold Ltd.
Alecto also owns the Kerboulé project, located in the highly prospective Birrimian-age Djibo gold belt in northern Burkina Faso, as well as the wholly owned Wad Amour IOCG Project in Mauritania which is at an exploration stage.As can be seen, the company has a strong, diversified project portfolio with exciting exploration upside potential.