Global mining conglomerate Anglo American has reported a slight increase in total production for the third quarter of 2018 ended 30th September.
According to a performance overview released by the diversified mining giant this week total production registered a slight hike of 1 percent on copper equivalent basis for the four months ended September 30, 2018. The multi-Exchanges listed global outfit operates major mining undertakings in the world’s richest deposits unearthing almost all mineral varieties from copper, platinum, iron, metallurgical coal as well as diamonds, the latter is through the world’s flagship diamond producer De Beers which Anglo owns on majority shareholding.
De Beers, 15 percent owned by Botswana Government, breaks the world most valuable diamond fields in Botswana and Namibia amongst others. Anglo American reports that De Beers’s productions volumes decreased by 5 percent to 8.7 million carats attributable to expected lower grades at the world richest diamond mine by value, Jwaneng as well as lower volumes at Venetia.
De Beers Botswana operations under the banner of the country’s flagship mining company, Debswana registered production decline of 6 percent recording 5.7 million carats during the third quarter of 2018. Anglo America says the lower production volumes were anticipated because of to the planned processing of lower grade material at Jwaneng.On a more satisfactory note Orapa regime which is a basket of Orapa plants, Letlhakane and Damtshaa mines remained in line at flat figures with insignificant difference to 2017 Q3 production of 2.6 million carats.
Next door to Botswana, Anglo American also have lucrative mining interests in Namibia through another De Beers outfit, Namdeb Holdings a 50-50 venture between De beers and Government of Namibia recorded flat performance at 0.5 million carats. De Beers’ operations in South Africa recorded a production decline of 14 percent to 1.3 million carats due to a planned shutdown at Venetia to upgrade the processing plant ahead of the transition from open cut to underground operations, while Canada production increased by 5 percent to 1.2 million carats, driven by higher grades at Victor, which is approaching the end of its life.
In the overall Anglo American observes that rough diamond sales volumes amounted to 5.0 million carats, 4.6 million carats on a consolidated basis from two sales cycles in Q3 2018, compared to 6.9 million carats-6.5 million carats on a consolidated basis from two sales cycles in Q3 2017.
“Rough sales volumes were down as a result of sight holders being given the opportunity during the seventh Sight of 2018 to re-phase the allocation of some smaller, lower value rough diamonds. Rough sales revenues were broadly in line with Q3 2017,” reads the report.
On Anglo American flagship base metal mineral, copper, production volumes hit an impressive hike by 17% to 171,800 tonnes, with production increases at all operations.
Anglo notes that 23 % production increase 95,800 tonnes at Los Bronces was by enlarge driven by continued strong mine and plant performance, supported by significantly lower than usual winter snowfall and planned higher grades. For the company’s traditional revenue spinner Platinum mining operations, production increased by 4 percent to 649,000 ounces while palladium production increased by 1 percent to 410,800 ounces due to improved operational performances across the majority of the portfolio, despite the placing of unprofitable production from Bokoni on care and maintenance in Q3 2017.
Still under platinum basket own mined platinum production decreased by 7 percent to 332,900 ounces and palladium production decreased by 5 percent to 250,200 ounces due to the sale of Union mine to Siyanda Resources on 1 February 2018, after which its production was purchased as concentrate. The United Kingdom incorporated mining giant explains that excluding Union, own mined platinum production increased by 5 percent and palladium production increased by 2 percent.
Refined platinum production decreased by 19 percent to 556,200 ounces and refined palladium production decreased by 29 percent to 321,500 ounces due to a rebuild of the Mortimer smelter in Q2 2018 and its progressive ramp up in Q3 2018 as well as the Polokwane smelter furnace repair that required a full shutdown for 35 days.
Platinum sales volumes with exclusion of refined metal purchased from third parties decreased by 20 percent to 530,100 ounces and palladium sales volumes decreased by 30 percent to 324,300 ounces due to lower refined production. Still during the period under review Anglo American’s Kumba Iron ore production volumes decreased by 9 percent to 10.5 million tonnes, as planned, following rail constraints in half 1 2018, and a small decrease in plant yields as Kumba produced higher quality products to maximize the value of tonnes railed to port.
Export sales decreased by 10 percent to 9.7 million tonnes due to the scheduled refurbishment of a ship loader at the Saldanha Port that reduced loading capacity during the quarter. Total finished product stocks increased from 6.2 million tonnes at 30 June 2018 to 6.6 million tonnes at 30 September 2018, representing ~$175 million of working capital.
For its metallurgical Coal, Anglo recorded 3 percent depreciation in exports to 5.4 million tonnes, with the Grosvenor ramp up being offset by a longwall move at Moranbah, anticipated challenging geological conditions at Grasstree and lower production at Dawson. For thermal Coal production in South Africa, exports increased by 16 percent to 5.1 million tonnes, following operational improvements in the quarter and the impact of a 100-hour safety stoppage in Q3 2017, partly offset by conveyor issues at Zibulo.
While domestic thermal coal production decreased by 68 percent to 2.7 million tonnes due to the completion of the sale of the Eskom-tied operations to Seriti on 1 March 2018. Nickel output increased by 3 percent to 11,500 tonnes driven by enhanced stability arising from operational improvements implemented at Barro Alto during 2018, while Manganese ore production increased by 6 percent to 887,600 tonnes.Manganese alloy production decreased by 7 percent to 34,800 tonnes due to a planned maintenance shutdown of the furnace during the quarter.
Anglo American Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Cutifani, remarked that his company’s focus on driving efficiency and productivity across the business resulted in another strong quarter. “With volumes 1% higher than the solid operational performance seen in Q3 2017.
Production per employee has increased by 5 percent in 2018, compared to 2017, as we maintain relentless discipline on controllable costs.”
Cutifani observes that Anglo’s strong operational performance at its Copper assets which delivered a 17 percent increase in production mirrored quarter 3’s best performer, more than offsetting planned lower volumes at De Beers and the impact of rail infrastructure constraints at Kumba in the first half of the year.
The future of Botswana’s largest copper and silver operation, Khoemacau Copper Mining, looks promising as the new owners, MMG Group, commit to the mine’s expansion plans. MMG, an Australian headquartered company owned by China, has expressed its dedication to doubling Khoemacau’s production and transforming it into one of the most significant high-grade copper operations in Africa.
Nan Wang, the Executive General Manager for Australia and Africa at MMG, stated that while the immediate focus is on maintaining a consistent production level of 60ktpa, there are solid plans to increase Khoemacau’s production capacity. The company aims to double its production from 3.65Mtpa to 8.15Mtpa, resulting in an increase in payable copper from approximately 60ktpa to around 130ktpa.
To achieve this expansion, Khoemacau has completed a pre-feasibility study on the project and a solar power initiative. The next step is to conduct a feasibility study, which will pave the way for increased production capacity. Additionally, Khoemacau has identified extensive exploration opportunities across its license area, positioning the company for an exciting new phase of development.
The current Khoemacau operation reached full production and nameplate capacity in December 2022, following over a decade of investment totaling over P10 billion. This significant investment allowed for an intense exploration program, resulting in the development of the most automated underground mining operation in Botswana. The first concentrate was produced in June 2021, and the product entered the export market in July of the same year. Throughout 2022, the company has been working on the pre-feasibility study for the expansion project, with the feasibility study scheduled for the following year.
The expansion plans will involve the construction of a new world-class process plant in Zone 5, where the current mining of ore takes place. This new plant will be larger than the existing one in Boseto, which currently receives ore from Zone 5. The expansion will also involve the development of new underground mines, including Mango, Zone 5 North, and Zeta North East. These additional mines will bring the total number of underground shafts at Khoemacau to six. The ramp-up of production from the expansion is expected to occur in 2026.
Khoemacau, which acquired assets in the Kalahari Copper Belt after the liquidation of Discovery Metals in 2015, currently employs over 1500 people, with the majority being Batswana. The Khoemacau Mine is located in north-west Botswana, in the emerging Kalahari Copperbelt. It boasts the 10th largest African Copper Mineral Resource by total contained copper metal and is one of the largest copper sedimentary systems in the world outside of the Central African Copperbelt.
The mine utilizes underground long hole stoping as its mining method and conventional sulphide flotation for processing. Resource drilling results have shown the existing resources to have continuity at depth, and there are several exploration targets within the tenement package that have the potential to extend the mine’s life or increase productivity.
The Zone 5 mine has already ramped up production, and further expansion in the next five years will be supported by the deposits in the Zone 5 Group. The estimated mine life is a minimum of 20 years, with the potential to extend beyond 30 years by tapping into other deposits within the tenement package.
In conclusion, the commitment of MMG Group to Khoemacau’s expansion plans signifies a bright future for Botswana’s largest copper and silver operation. With the completion of pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, as well as significant investments, Khoemacau is poised to become one of Africa’s most important high-grade copper operations. The expansion project will not only increase production capacity but also create new job opportunities and contribute to the economic growth of Botswana.
Khoemacau Copper Mining, a leading copper mining company, has recently announced its acquisition by MMG Limited, a global resources company based in Australia. This acquisition marks a significant milestone for both companies and demonstrates their commitment to continued investment, growth, and sustainability in the mining industry.
MMG Limited is a renowned mining company that operates copper and other base metals projects across four continents. With its headquarters in Melbourne, Australia, MMG has a strong track record in mining and exploration. The company currently operates several successful mines, including the Dugald River zinc mine and the Rosebery polymetallic mine in Australia, the Kinsevere copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Las Bambas Mine in Peru. MMG’s extensive experience and expertise in mining operations make it an ideal partner for Khoemacau.
MMG’s commitment to sustainability aligns perfectly with Khoemacau’s values and priorities. Khoemacau has always placed a strong emphasis on safety, health, community, and the environment. MMG shares this commitment and applies the principles of good corporate governance as set out in the Corporate Governance Code of the Hong Kong Listing Rules. As a member of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), MMG adheres to sustainable mining principles, ensuring responsible and ethical practices in all its operations.
Over the past 12 years, Khoemacau’s current shareholders have made significant investments in the development of the company. With approximately US$1 billion deployed in the project, Khoemacau has successfully transformed from an exploration and discovery phase to a fully-fledged operating copper mine. The completion of the ramp-up of the Zone 5/Boseto operations has set the stage for the next phase of expansion.
With the acquisition by MMG, Khoemacau is poised for an exciting new chapter in its development. The completion of a pre-feasibility study on the Khoemacau expansion and a solar power project has paved the way for increased production capacity. The feasibility study will be the next step in doubling the production capacity from 3.65 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) to 8.15 Mtpa, resulting in a significant increase in payable copper from approximately 60,000 tonnes per annum (ktpa) to 130,000 ktpa. Additionally, Khoemacau has extensive exploration opportunities across its license area, further enhancing its growth potential.
The CEO of Khoemacau, Johan Ferreira, expressed his gratitude to the current owners for their stewardship of the company and their successful transformation of Khoemacau into a fully operational copper mine. He also highlighted the company’s focus on the expansion study and its vision for the future with MMG. Ferreira emphasized that the partnership with MMG will ensure Khoemacau’s long-term success, delivering employment, community benefits, and economic development in Botswana.
MMG Chairman, Jiqing Xu, echoed Ferreira’s sentiments, stating that the acquisition of Khoemacau aligns with MMG’s growth strategy and vision. Xu emphasized MMG’s commitment to creating opportunities for all stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, and communities. He expressed confidence in Khoemacau’s expansion potential and the company’s ability to realize its full potential with the support of MMG.
The sale of Khoemacau to MMG is subject to certain conditions precedent and approvals, with the expected closing date in the first half of 2024. This acquisition represents a significant step forward for both companies and reinforces their commitment to sustainable mining practices, responsible resource development, and long-term growth in the mining industry.
In conclusion, the acquisition of Khoemacau Copper Mining by MMG Limited signifies a new era of investment, growth, and sustainability in the mining industry. With MMG’s extensive experience and commitment to responsible mining practices, Khoemacau is well-positioned for future success. The partnership between the two companies will not only drive economic development but also ensure the safety and well-being of employees, benefit local communities, and contribute to the overall growth of Botswana’s mining sector.
The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has taken a significant step towards diversifying its energy mix by signing a power purchase agreement with Sekaname Energy for the production of power from coal bed methane in Mmashoro village. This agreement marks a major milestone for the energy sector in Botswana as the country transitions from a coal-fired power generation system to a new energy mix comprising coal, gas, solar, and wind.
The CEO of BPC, David Kgoboko, explained that the Power Purchase Agreement is for a 6MW coal bed methane proof of concept project to be developed around Mmashoro village. This project aligns with BPC’s strategic initiatives to increase the proportion of low-carbon power generation sources and renewable energy in the energy mix. The use of coal bed methane for power generation is an exciting development as it provides a hybrid solution with non-dispatchable sources of generation like solar PV. Without flexible base-load generation, the deployment of non-dispatchable solar PV generation would be limited.
Kgoboko emphasized that BPC is committed to enabling the development of a gas supply industry in Botswana. Sekaname Energy, along with other players in the coal bed methane exploration business, is a key and strategic partner for BPC. The successful development of a gas supply industry will enable the realization of a secure and sustainable energy mix for the country.
The Minister of Minerals & Energy, Lefoko Moagi, expressed his support for the initiative by the private sector to develop a gas industry in Botswana. The country has abundant coal reserves, and the government fully supports the commercial extraction of coal bed methane gas for power generation. The government guarantees that BPC will purchase the generated electricity at reasonable tariffs, providing cash flow to the developers and enabling them to raise equity and debt funding for gas extraction development.
Moagi highlighted the benefits of developing a gas supply industry, including diversified primary energy sources, economic diversification, import substitution, and employment creation. He commended Sekaname Energy for undertaking a pilot project to prove the commercial viability of extracting coal bed methane for power generation. If successful, this initiative would unlock the potential of a gas production industry in Botswana.
Sekaname Energy CEO, Peter Mmusi, emphasized the multiple uses of natural gas and its potential to uplift Botswana’s economy. In addition to power generation, natural gas can be used for gas-to-liquids, compressed natural gas, and fertilizer production. Mmusi revealed that Sekaname has already invested $57 million in exploration and infrastructure throughout its resource area. The company plans to spend another $10-15 million for the initial 6MW project and aims to invest over $500 million in the future for a 90MW power plant. Sekaname’s goal is to assist BPC in becoming a net exporter of power within the region and to contribute to Botswana’s transition to cleaner energy production.
In conclusion, the power purchase agreement between BPC and Sekaname Energy for the production of power from coal bed methane in Mmashoro village is a significant step towards diversifying Botswana’s energy mix. This project aligns with BPC’s strategic initiatives to increase the proportion of low-carbon power generation sources and renewable energy. The government’s support for the development of a gas supply industry and the commercial extraction of coal bed methane will bring numerous benefits to the country, including economic diversification, import substitution, and employment creation. With the potential to become a net exporter of power and a cleaner energy producer, Botswana is poised to make significant strides in its energy sector.