Base metals
AIM-listed Alecto Minerals has appointed a mining contractor to restart mining operations at the Mowana copper project in Botswana as it transitions into a producer.

“The arrival of our mining contractor and the earth moving 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,” Alecto Minerals CEO Mark Jones commented.

Alecto Minerals has appointed Giant Transport Holdings to undertake mining operations at Mowana for an initial period of six months, with the mining contractor’s site having already been established.

According to Alecto Minerals, two bulldozers, two excavators and five 40 t articulated dump trucks have been mobilised to site to augment the company’s own excavator, dozer and front end loader, with further equipment in transit.

Pit clean-up operations and reverse circulation grade control drilling will now start testing the near-term production targets. What is more, the contract for the supply of fuel and lubricants has been signed and first delivery is anticipated in the next two to three weeks.

Alecto Minerals also has a strong recruitment drive underway and reports that it has filled over 150 positions from an excellent local pool of potential candidates.

The company further reported that higher than usual rainfalls in Botswana over the past few months necessitated the start of a de-watering programme which is progressing well. The rain has had no impact on the immediate mine plan as the near-term production areas are outside of the flooded areas and still accessible.

“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,” said Jones.

Alecto Minerals said these latest developments demonstrate its commitment to applying a new approach at Mowana, which will enable it to rapidly leverage the existing measured and indicated resource of 683 000 t copper and the inferred resource of 945 000 t.

“We benefit from partnerships with commercial mining entities such as PenMin and, using 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,” Jones notes.

“With grade control drilling due to start next week, recruitment of key personnel continuing and process plant start-up planned shortly, this project is becoming a tangible reality.”