Alecto Minerals plc, the AIM-listed African-focused gold and copper exploration and development company, said it has appointed a mining contractor to commence mining operations at the Mowana Copper Project in Botswana.
According to the company, Giant Transport Holdings Limited has been contracted to undertake mining operations at the mine 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 articulated 40-tonne dump trucks have been mobilised to site to augment the company’s own excavator, dozer and front end loader, with further equipment in transit while Pit clean-up operations and reverse circulation grade control drilling can now commence testing the near-term production targets.
Alecto chief executive officer, Mark Jones said 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.
“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,” Jones said.
“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.”
He added: “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 said the contract for supply of fuel and lubricants signed with first delivery anticipated in the next 2-3 weeks with a 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.
However, the company said higher than usual rainfalls in Botswana over the past few [months] has necessitated the commencement of a de-watering programme 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”.