Khoemacau is a copper-silver project located in a sparsely populated region of northwestern Botswana in the Kalahari Desert. It is located in the Kalahari copper belt, although the main mineralized zone demonstrates a high-grade copper tenor that is atypical of what has been discovered in the belt thus far.
Khoemacau is made up of over 4,040 square kilometers of mineral concessions, which include concessions acquired from Hana Mining Ltd. (Hana) in 2013 as well as concessions and a plant and associated infrastructure (the “Boseto Mill”) acquired out of the receivership of Discovery Metals Inc. in 2015. While the Zone 5 deposit was discovered by Hana in 2012, it was not thoroughly explored and evaluated until 2013. Since the consolidation of the properties, KCM has focused on exploration and development of the Zone 5 orebody and integration of Zone 5 with the Boseto Mill. Cupric Canyon Captial LP (Cupric) reports that the mineralization has proven to be very consistent over the known linear strike of nearly four kilometers and 60 degree dip, and averages 9 to 10 meters in width.
KCM’s current mine plan envisions mining and processing of 74.4 million tonnes grading 2.0% copper and 21.4 g/t silver over the 21-year mine life, averaging payable production of approximately 62,000 tonnes of copper and 1.9 million ounces of silver per year. Excluding the impact of the silver stream, KCM forecasts life of mine by-product C1 plus sustaining capital costs of approximately US$1.71 per pound of copper on a by-product basis at a silver price of US$16.00 per ounce, placing the operation at approximately the 50th percentile on the global copper cost curve. At a silver price of US$16.00 per ounce and a copper price of US$2.90 per pound, silver represents approximately 7% of the mine’s expected revenues.
KCM expects the first shipment of concentrate by the middle of calendar 2021.
Royal Gold, through its wholly-owned subsidiary RGLD Gold AG, holds a life of mine purchase and sale agreement for silver produced from the Khoemacau Copper Project in Botswana with Khoemacau Copper Mining (Pty.) Limited (“KCM”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cupric Canyon Capital LP (Cupric). Cupric is a private company owned by management and funds advised by Global Natural Resource Investments.
Royal Gold will make an advance payment of US$212 million for 80% of the silver produced from Khoemacau until certain delivery thresholds are met, and at KCM’s option, up to an additional US$53 million for up to the remaining 20% of the silver produced. The stream rate will drop by 50% upon the delivery to Royal Gold of 32 million ounces for the 80% silver stream, and 40 million ounces in the case that the option to increase the stream interest to 100% is fully exercised.
Royal Gold will pay 20% of the spot price of silver for each ounce delivered. Depending on the achievement by KCM of mill expansion throughput levels above 13,000 tonnes per day, which is 30% above the current mill design capacity, Royal Gold will pay higher ongoing cash payments for ounces delivered in excess of specific annual thresholds.
Royal Gold will also make available up to US$25 million of subordinated debt towards the end of project development to fund potential cost overruns, subject to various conditions.
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