Mention of mining investors going to Botswana almost always conjures up the prospect of more diamond mines.
However, two Canadian companies joining the foray into the Southern African country’s rich mining hinterland are not looking for ‘a girl’s best friend’. Instead, they are searching for copper, which has become a hot commodity, thanks largely to China’s and India’s insatiable demand.
Toronto Stock Exchange-listed Hana Mining and African Copper are exploring for copper in Botswana, with both expected to develop mines and eventually produce the metal before the end of 2008.
The $20-million-cap Hana Min-ing is a junior exploration company seeking to “acquire, explore and develop” highly prospective base-metal and other mineral projects worldwide, with particular emphasis on Southern Africa.
“The company has the right to acquire a 70% controlling interest in the Ghanzi copper/silver project, in north-western Botswana, which consists of five licence blocks covering 4 370 km2 that contain widespread sediment-hosted copper mineralisation,” says Hana Mining president Peter Wilson.
The project area lies within the Late Proterozoic Damaran rift sequence of the Pan African Mobile Belt, the same rocks that host the world-class deposits of the Zambian Copperbelt, which contains roughly 30% of the world’s copper reserves.
African Copper, which is also listed on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market and the Botswana Stock Exchange, is developing a $26-million copper mine at Mowana, 120 km from Francistown, with a measured and indicated resource of 58-million tons at about 1% copper.
CEO Joseph Hamilton says production begins in the second quarter of this year, adding that the company expects to produce more than one-million tons of concentrate a year.