Australia-based mining company Sandfire Resources has received an extended mining licence for the Motheo copper project, an open-pit mining operation in Ghanzi, Botswana.

Botswana’s Department of Mines has approved the company’s submission for mining licence extension, which represents the final major permit for the 5.2Mtpa Motheo expansion project.

The licence extension follows the recent approval of the company’s Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) by the Botswana government, in May this year.

Located in the Kalahari Copper Belt in Botswana, the Motheo Copper Project operates the project through its community office located in the town of Ghanzi.

The Motheo copper mine started producing in FY2021 following the completion of a positive definitive feasibility study in December 2020 and receipt of relevant government approvals.

Sandfire plans to expand the Motheo Copper Mine from 3.2Mtpa to 5.2Mtpa based on positive results from a definite feasibility study of the project.

The company intends to begin the development and mining of the A4 Deposit in the September Quarter of FY2024, expanding its mining footprint that was limited to T3 Open Pit.

In addition, the subsequent ramp-up in throughput to the expanded rate is expected to occur across the later period of FY2024, said the Canadian mining company.

Sandfire managing director and CEO Brendan Harris said: “Approval of the extended mining licence is a critical step for our newest mine and we look forward to seeing the higher grade A4 Pit contribute to the expanded Motheo mining complex, which is expected to produce more than 50kt1 of contained copper in the 2025 financial year.

“The robust approvals process for this project was a significant undertaking and I would like to congratulate our team for achieving this important milestone and thank the Government of Botswana and our host communities for their continuing support.”