Lucara Diamond (TSX: LUC) said Botswana has renewed the company’s mining licence for its Karowe mine for another 25 years, paving the way to fully move the mine’s underground expansion to its execution phase.
President and CEO Eira Thomas said the licence renewal and extension was an important milestone for the underground expansion of Karowe, as it eases 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 US$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.
Moving the mine underground is expected to take five years and extend its productive life by 20 years — until 2041.
The move will allow Lucara to exploit the highest value part of the orebody first and generate over US$5.25 billion in gross revenue.
Lucara currently continues to explore debt financing options for the US$514 million project as the figure would exceed the company’s cash flow from operations during the construction period.
The miner anticipates to have financing in place by the second half of 2021.
Karowe is one of the world’s most prolific sources of large, high value type IIA diamonds.
Karowe is one of the world’s most prolific sources of large, high value type IIA diamonds, becoming the only mine in recorded history to have produced two 1,000+ carat diamonds.
This article first appeared in MINING.com, part of Glacier Resource Innovation Group.