Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/12/2012 -- Diamonds To Remain Mainstay Of Mining Sector
In line with the Botswanan government's plans to diversify away from diamond revenues, there has been a swathe of new mining projects announced in 2011. However, while the country's silver, gold and coal production is set to surge from its low base, BMI expects diamond output to remain the dominant facet of the country's mining production for the foreseeable future.
Hana Mining has announced a 350kt ('000 tonnes) copper reserve (at a cut-off of 0.3% Cu) at its Ghanzi deposit. Discovery Metals' Boseto mine has a total JORC-compliant mineral resource for 102.8mn tonnes, at 1.4% Cu and 17.3g/t Ag, equivalent to 1.4mn tonnes of copper and 57mn oz of silver. There are also additional coal, gold and silver deposits currently being developed by Aviva Corporation and African Copper, which has received an interim mining licence to develop the Thakadu copper-silver project.
Uranium mining could also be a future key revenue generator for Botswana, with news in May 2011 of a 65% increase in the uranium resource at A-Cap Resources' Lethlakane uranium project. Although these projects will increase Botswana's non-diamond mining sector revenues in future years, these projects remain dwarfed by the country's diamond production, which remained the largest in the world in 2010, with output of 24mn carats, accounting for 18.5% of global output.
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In the diamond sector, Gem Diamonds has been awarded a 25-year mining licence for its Gope diamond project in central Botswana and Lucara Diamond Corporation announced that it will be starting full production at its AK06 diamond mine by early 2012, with expectations that the mine should produce 400,000 carats of rough diamonds during its first year of operations. Commissioning of the mine was scheduled to start in Q411.
Gem Diamonds has stated that diamond production at Gope will start in 2013, at an initial rate of 100,000 carats per annum, increasing over time to a 'peak steady state' production of 780,000 carats per annum. Against this backdrop, we made some upwards revisions to our copper production and export forecasts earlier in the year to reflect this new output from Boseto and we have also now made an upwards revision to our diamond production and export forecasts to take account of Lucara's higher output from the AK06 mine from 2012 onwards and Gem's higher output from 2013 onwards.
Botswana Still Favourable
Botswana remains the highest-rated African country in our Business Environment Rankings. The country has a stable political situation and a well-developed mining sector, backed up by a sound regulatory framework.
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