DebswanaDebswana, the 50/50 joint venture between Botswana Government and De Beers, registered impressive output levels inthe last quarter of 2021, latest production report from Anglo American, De Beers parent company has revealed.
Rough diamond production at De Beers level increased by 15% to 7.7 million carats, reflecting planned higher production of rough diamonds to meet continued strong levels of demand.
In Botswana, Debswana production increased by 23% to 5.2 million carats primarily as a result of the planned treatment of higher grade ore at Jwaneng, partly offset by lower production at Orapa due to the planned closure of Plant 1 in late 2020.
Namibia production increased by 16% to 0.4 million carats reflecting a reduction in the scheduled maintenance time for the marine fleet.
South Africa production was in line with the prior year at 1.3 million carats, as planned plant maintenance in Q4 2021 was offset by processing of higher grade ore. Production in Canada was broadly flat.
Demand for rough diamonds remained robust, with positive midstream sentiment and strong demand for diamond jewellery continuing over the holiday period, particularly in the key US consumer market.
De Beers Rough diamond sales totalled 7.7 million carats (7.2 million carats on a consolidated basis)(2) from three Sights, compared with 6.9 million carats (6.4
million carats on a consolidated basis) from two Sights in Q4 2020, and 7.8 million carats (7.0 million carats on a consolidated basis) from two Sights in Q3 2021.
The full year consolidated average realised price increased by 10% to $146/ct (2020: $133/ct), primarily as a result of positive market sentiment which gave rise to a strengthening of the rough price index.
Production guidance for 2022 is 3033 million carats (100% basis), subject to trading conditions and the extent of further Covid-19 related disruptions.
Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive of Anglo American, said: Our production was broadly flat compared to Q4 of 2020, with our operating levels at approximately 95% of normal capacity through the year, largely due to the ongoing Covid-19 related effects on the operating environment.
Production in the fourth quarter benefited from higher rough diamond production at De Beers, a return to pre-Covid production levels at our open cut metallurgical coal mines and improved mining performance at Amandelbult which resulted in higher metal in concentrate production from our PGMs business.
At our copper operations, Collahuasi’s production increased as a result of strong plant performance and planned maintenance in the comparable period of 2020.
“As we move into 2022, we are pleased with the construction progress at Quellaveco, our new copper mine in Peru. We are on track and within budget, we mined our first ore in October 2021, and we are expecting our first production of copper concentrate in the middle of this year. In the first quartile of the cost curve, we expect Quellaveco to produce 120,000-160,000 tonnes of copper production in 2022 and to average 300,000 tonnes per year for the first ten years at full production.”
Debswana ‘ s production was anchored by significant rise in output at Jwaneng Mine, compared to 2020 Quarter 4 Jwaneng’ s 2021 Q4 rose by 85 percent in response to higher demand of rough diamonds and also underpinned by a high performing process plant.
During the quarter Jwaneng Mine’s Recrush Plant won the latest Group Processing Golden Plant Award. Jwaneng took the three top spots in the Quarter three (3) awards with Jwaneng Modular Plant (JMP) and the Jwaneng Main Treatment Plant (MTP) in second and third respectively, mirroring a fantastic achievement for Debswana.
This award recognises the metallurgical processing plant which demonstrates an outstanding drive to perform above and beyond the technical limits, while embedding Processing Without Harm as a way of life.
The trophy is awarded each quarter to the plant with the highest Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) rankings across Runtime, Throughput and Recovery – while always putting the safety of employees first.
The Debswana Jwaneng Mine Recrush Plant received the latest award for safely and consistently achieving high overall equipment effectiveness for the quarter, with no recorded Lost Time Injuries (LTIs).
The awards are part of Debswana, De Beers and Anglo Americans drive to improve the productivity and efficiency of their assets by achieving and exceeding global benchmarks.
The General Manager of Jwaneng Mine, Mr Koolatotse Koolatotse said, Jwaneng mine is a pacesetter in achieving breakthrough results to add ever increasing value to Botswana and the citizens of this country. We are excited to see the performance of our plants coming out tops.
From our Edge 360 Strategy to the Current ODOT Debswana 2024 Strategy we commit to adding more and more value to our stakeholders. The performance is really testimony to the caliber of Batswana who work in our mining industry.Mr. Koolatotse said praising the Jwaneng Teams. We thank Anglo American for giving us the opportunity to participate in these awards, He added.
It is extremely humbling to see the performance of our plants recognised across the Group. The performance is indicative of the breakthrough culture that is transforming Jwaneng Mine into a high performing operation, said Jwaneng Senior Ore Processing Manager, Kgolagano Banabotlhe.
He also commended the team for the sterling performance pointing out that the achievement is attributable to the strong work ethic, teamwork, and dedication across the entire value chain from pit to the recovery. I also take my hat off to Jwaneng Modular Plant (JMP) and Main Treatment Plant (MTP) for coming second and third. This is exceptional performance, he said.
Group Head of Processing at Anglo American, Andrew Mc Clelland, said, This is really exciting as additional beneficiation sites areas were brought in to expand the Golden Plant Awards. It has been encouraging to see how Jwaneng Mine has significantly improved its Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) performance over the past year. As we move into the final quarter, this time of the year is traditionally demanding for our industry.
While we need to remain focused, this cannot come at the expense of safety, which is always our priority. In Quarter 1 2022 there will be an awards ceremony where the overall winner for 2021 will be announced, which will take place alongside the Golden Shovel Award and others. Well done to Jwaneng Mine and De Beers in achieving this excellent outcome.
This is not the first time Debswana Jwaneng Mine plants feature in Anglo American P101 dashboards. Jwaneng Modular Plant (JMP) was the overall winner in 2020 Anglo P101 Golden Plants Awards.
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.