Canadian mining company Sandfire Resources has increased the finance facility for the proposed expansion of its Motheo mine in the Kalahari copper belt in Botswana.

The company increased the financing facility by $60m from the initial $140m to $200m to support the 5.2Mtpa Motheo expansion.

The increased financing will maintain its overall tenure of seven years, with normal conditions to be satisfied prior to the first drawdown, which is expected in a few weeks.

Sandfire will receive the expanded financing from a syndicate that includes South Africa’s Nedbank, France-based Société Générale and Natixis CIB and Dutch lender ING.

Sandfire CEO and managing director Brendan Harris said: “The uplift of the Motheo Finance Facility highlights the confidence that our international banking syndicate has in the Motheo operations, and we appreciate their support.

“In parallel, our first shipment of copper concentrate signals the commencement of cash flow generation and earnings at Motheo.

“This places Motheo in a strong position to support its 5.2Mtpa expansion project, which will see production and sales increase to more than 50kt of copper in FY2025.”

With the expansion of the Motheo mine, its processing capacity will be increased from the present rate of 3.2 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) to 5.2mtpa by the end of December 2024.

The expansion will be funded by the $60m increase in the project finance facility and cash flows generated by the initial 3.2mtpa development.

Perenti’s surface mining business in Africa, AMS, which is the mining contractor for the T3 open pit, is scheduled to commence A4 pre-production and development work in late September 2023 and waste pre-stripping in October 2023.

Earlier this month, Perenti subsidiary African Mining Services (AMS) secured a $235m contract for mining services at Motheo mine’s A4 open pit.

According to Sandfire, the pre-production and development at A4 will begin later this month, with plans to commence waste pre-stripping in the next month.

The Motheo expansion will comprise two open-cut mines and a 5.2Mtpa central processing facility, as the higher grade A4 Open Pit comes online, said the Canadian mining company.

Harris added: “We see an enormous potential to create value for our stakeholders from our strategic position in the highly prospective Kalahari Copper Belt.

“This year we will test an open extension of the high-grade A4 Deposit and undertake a medium-density drilling program of the newly discovered A1 mineralised zone with the objective of identifying a maiden mineral resource.”