JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Africa-focused base and precious metals exploration and production company Cradle Arc has secured $10-million of debt funding to support an accelerated development plan for its Mowana openpit mine, in Botswana, and to refinance part of the group’s existing indebtedness.
The Aim-listed company on Tuesday released an operational and financial update in respect of its Mowana copper mine, including details of an enhanced independent mineral resource estimate for the Mowana openpit, an accelerated mine development plan and $10-million of secured debt funding.
“Mowana has demonstrated its significant scale and, following the successful recommencement of production during 2017, our focus has now turned from the testing phase to increasing throughput and building towards profitability,” Cradle Arc CEO Kevin van Wouw said.
To achieve this, he explained that the company has formulated an accelerated development plan, that will result in four mining units being in service in the Mowana openpit.
“We are delighted to have secured $10-million of debt funding to support these efforts and refinance part of the group's existing indebtedness. The net funds raised will enable us to bolster our mining fleet, accelerate access to the supergene and sulphide ores where grades are higher and recoveries have been shown to be strong, and refinance the group's offtake-linked prepayment facility to reduce overall borrowing costs and improve the capital base of the group.”
He further explained that the company’s new resource model captures its improved understanding of the Mowana opportunity, allowing for better returns to be achieved in the near term as the company moves from the testing and recovery phase towards steady-state operations and its goal of achieving initial nameplate capacity of 12 000 t/y of copper.
Alongside this, work continues on the definition of a maiden Joint Ore Reserves Committee-compliant reserve estimate, which will incorporate the planned process plant improvements so that, once the company has achieved initial nameplate capacity at the current plant, it can look to build production to over 20 000 t/y through the planned dense media separation upgrades.
“With a restructured and strengthened balance sheet and clearly defined accelerated development plan, we look forward to establishing Mowana as a major copper producer,” Van Wouw said.
Following the company's admission to trading on Aim on January 24, additional mining equipment, including 20 40 t articulated dump trucks (ADTs), three CAT D8 dozers, two CAT374 excavators, a grader and a water truck, along with the accompanying support equipment and spares, has been delivered to site in support of the group's accelerated development plan.
The accelerated development plan envisages having four mining units in service in the Mowana openpit, with each mining unit comprising a 75 t excavator and five 40 t ADTs.
With the ability to operate each mining unit independently in the openpit, the accelerated development plan will enable the group to mine additional faces in the orebody simultaneously and thereby increase the volume of ore and waste mined.