Lucara Diamond Corp and Lucara Botswana (Proprietary) Limited have announced that the application for the renewal of mining licence No 2008/6L in respect of its AK06 (Karowe) Mine has been approved by Botswana’s Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security.
According to Lucara, the renewal is effective January 4, 2021 for a period of 25 years, securing Lucara’s mining rights to 2046 and marks a critical step in the formal sanction of the Karowe underground expansion project.
Lucara Diamond Corp president and CEO Eira Thomas said they looked forward to continued cooperation and a mutually rewarding partnership with the Government of Botswana. “The receipt of our mining licence renewal and extension to 2046 is an important milestone for the Karowe underground expansion project, paving the way for the completion of a supplemental debt financing and full project sanction later this year,” Thomas said. “Lucara is grateful for the confidence and support demonstrated by the Government of Botswana as we work to expand our operations at Karowe underground, for the benefit of the Government and the people of Botswana together with Lucara’s shareholders.”
Lucara said the Karowe underground expansion project, which continued to advance in 2020 under a revised US $22 million budget in response to Covid, focused on time critical-path items, detailed engineering and design, and limited earth works and geotechnical studies.
“The company continues to explore debt financing options for the underground expansion for those amounts which are expected to exceed the Company’s cash flow from operations during the construction period. The Company anticipates financing to be in place by the second half of this year. The underground expansion program has an estimated capital cost of $514 million and a five-year period of development, with first ore anticipated from underground in 2026,” Thomas added.