Lucara Diamond Corporation , a Canadian based company that’s ownes 100 % of Karowe Mine is forging ahead with the mine’s expansion project.
The Vancouver headquartered rare gem producer is investing over P5 billion inthe next four (4) years to transform Karowe into a world class underground mine.
The project started in 2020, but experienced challenges during the year due to COVID-19 pandemic resulting in re-scoping of the planned works & program.
Lucara was able to undertake some of the key activities to kickstart the highly anticipated project, that is expected to breath over 25 years of life to Karowe.
During the year ended December 31, 2020, $18.7 million(approximately P203 million) was spent on project execution activities including the following: Site earthworks (consisting of laydown preparation and clearing of shaft and surface infrastructure locations), geotechnical test pitting and drilling, and completion of two pilot holes at the shaft locations, a 746 metre hole for the ventilation shaft and a 768 metre hole for the production shaft.
The Company was able to complete on-site earth works and geotechnical studies by using local contractors while a State of Emergency remained in effect in Botswana.
Long lead time item orders were also placed for shaft muckers, and hoist and winder refurbishment was initiated. In addition, power line engineering and detailed shaft design and engineering (consistent with original targets for 2020) progressed.
In Q4 2020, the Government of Botswana approved the proposed powerline route and granted a 25-year extension to the Karowe Mine License to 2046, sufficient to cover the remaining open-pit life (to 2026) and the expected life of the proposed underground expansion, currently planned to 2040.
This year following the extension of mining license to 2040 by Government, Lucara secured and sealed funding deals adding to P2.8 billion from different financial institutions & through placing of news shares.
The underground expansion program has an estimated capital cost of $514 million (over P5 billion) and a five year period of development.Lucara has engaged Karowe ‘s original mine planners JDS Entreprises for the underground project. The company is owned by top mine developer