Sandfire unveils growth ambitions

15th October 2021 By: Esmarie Iannucci - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

PERTH ( – Copper miner Sandfire Resources on Friday said that it was hoping to achieve a 500 000 t/y production target.

Speaking at the Resources Rising Stars conference, in Perth, Sandfire MD Karl Simich said that the company was hoping to achieve the 150 000 t/y of copper equivalent output within the next five years, with the A$2.57-billion acquisition of the Matsa mining complex, in Spain, expected to help drive that ambition.

“Our aspirations from where we are, which will soon be between 150 000 t and 200 000 t of copper production, is to then, within the next five years, move to a level of about 500 000 t/y of annual copper equivalent production.”

The Matsa operation is a large, high-quality, long-life underground copper operation in Spain, which comprises three mining operations feeding a 4.7-million-tonne-a-year central processing facility, producing between 100 000 t/y and 120 000 t/y of copper equivalent.

Sandfire will fund the transaction through a combination of a $650-million syndicated adn underwritten debt facility secured by Matsa, and a $905-million, or A$1.24-billion, fully underwritten equity raising, as well as some A$297-million from existing cash reserves and the drawdown of a A$200-million corporate debt facility.

In addition to Matsa, Sandfire is also constructing its Motheo copper project, in Botswana, where it is evaluating an increase in its size from 3.2-million tonnes a year to 5.2-million tonnes a year, after declaring a maiden ore reserve for the satellite A4 deposit.

The mine life of the expanded project has been estimated at 10.5 years, with peak production expected to reach 60 000 t/y of copper in concentrate, while the life-of-mine C1 costs have decreased by 20%, compared with the smaller operation, to $1.32/lb and all-in sustaining costs have decreased by 15%, to $1.56/lb.

Meanwhile, the miner was also producing from its DeGrussa openpit operation in Western Australia, however, the project was coming to the end of the mine life, with Sandfire previously saying that based on current mining and processing rates, the current ore reserve at DeGrussa and Monty will allow high-grade, low-cost copper production to continue at full pace right through to the September quarter of 2022.

“We will still have a really robust period all the way up until the end of the current mining scenario,” Simich said of the DeGrussa operation, noting that the company was still undertaking significant exploration in the region, to make use of the near A$400-million worth of plant and equipment already located at DeGrussa.

“We are looking forward to having continued success, if we continue to explore. Around our plant site is clearly the best place to make discoveries,” he added.