The mining licence renewal application for Lucara Diamond Corp and Lucara Botswana’s Karowe mine, in Botswana, has been approved, and is effective from January 4 for a period of 25 years.
This secures Lucara’s mining rights to 2046 and marks a critical step in the formal sanction of the Karowe underground expansion project.
Lucara president and CEO Eira Thomas says the receipt of the mining licence renewal and extension to 2046 is an important milestone for the Karowe underground expansion project, and “paves the way for the completion of a supplemental debt financing and full project sanction” later this year.
The Karowe underground expansion project, which continued to advance in 2020 under a revised $22-million budget in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, focused on time critical path items, detailed engineering and design, and limited earthworks and geotechnical studies.
Lucara currently continues to explore debt financing options for the underground expansion for those amounts which are expected to exceed the company's cash flow from operations during the construction period.
Financing is anticipated to be in place by the second half of this year.
The underground expansion programme has an estimated capital cost of $514-million and a five-year period of development, with first ore anticipated from underground in 2026.