The application for the renewal of mining licence No. 2008/6L in respect of Lucara Diamond Corp. [LUC-TSX, Botswana, Sweden] and Lucara Botswana Pty. Ltd.’s AK06 (Karowe) mine has been approved by Botswana’s Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security. The renewal is effective January 4, 2021, for 25 years, securing Lucara’s mining rights to 2046 and marks a critical step in the formal sanction of the Karowe underground expansion project.
Eira Thomas, President and CEO, said: “The receipt of our mining licence renewal and extension to 2046 is an important milestone for the Karowe underground expansion project, paving the way for the completion of a supplemental debt financing and full project sanction later this year. Lucara is grateful for the confidence and support demonstrated by the government of Botswana as we work to expand our operations at Karowe underground, for the benefit of the government and the people of Botswana, together with Lucara’s shareholders. We look forward to continued co-operation and a mutually rewarding partnership with the government of Botswana.”
The Karowe underground expansion project, which continued to advance in 2020 under a revised US$22-million budget in response to COVID, focused on time critical path items, detailed engineering and design, and limited earthworks and geotechnical studies. The company 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. The company anticipates financing to be in place by the second half of this year. The underground expansion program has an estimated capital cost of $514-million and a five-year period of development, with first ore anticipated from underground in 2026.
Lucara is a leading independent producer of large exceptional-quality Type 2a diamonds from its 100%-owned Karowe mine.