BCL Mine, the trouble copper/nickel miner has decided to proceed to a Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS) with the view of applying for a mining licence to mine Maibele North initially as an open pit and to continue further exploration and drilling to evaluate the potential for underground mining.
This was revealed by exploration partner Botswana Metals (BML) adding that subject to a favourable result from the BFS it is expected that mining could commence as early as 2017.
“The JV aim is to complete the BFS and lodge a mining licence and EIA study by early 2017. Following a JV meeting last week to review the results of a pre-feasibility study prepared by WorleyParsons, BCL has advised BML that it has surpassed the JV requirement to fund $4M of exploration and has elected to continue with the JV,” BML Chairman, Pat Volpe said.
BCL will formally notify BML of its intentions of funding a BFS to earn a 70% interest in three prospecting licences (PL 110/94, PL111/94 and PL54/98), which are the assets of the JV.
BCL has now earned an initial 40% interest in the three PLs and by electing to fund the BFS will take management rights over the project development and earn 70% interest in the PLs after completing the BFS.
The BFS will determine the optimum route to mining where the pre-feasibility study showed that an initial open pit at Maibele North would be the quickest and most cost effective route when compared to other options. The BFS will also evaluate in more detail the viability of underground mining.
“Subject to a favourable result from the BFS it is expected that mining could commence as early as 2017. The Board is pleased and excited with BCL’s decision to continue to a BFS which will place the company one step closer to mining the Maibele deposit,” Volpe said. “The pre-feasibility study report is commercial-in-confidence at this stage at BCL’s request in accordance with the farm-in joint venture agreement.”
Recent exploration has resulted in three discoveries of Nickel-Copper and Copper-Silver mineralisation known as Airstrip Copper, Maibele North and Dibete. The Ni-Cu deposit at Maibele North is just east of Airstrip Copper whilst Dibete is 7 km to the south of Airstrip Copper.
BML has offices in Australia (Melbourne) and Botswana (at Francistown and Tshokwe). Under Polaris II, BCL aims to diversify its mining portfolio to other minerals including coal and in future look at refinery for new players in the market.
Botswana Metals exploration assets are only 80 kilometers north of the Selebi Phikwe Nickel copper mine and smelter and about 80 kilometers to the south of the Tati Nickel mine.