African Copper Plc
TSX : ACU
AIM : ACU

African Copper Plc

November 14, 2005 09:30 ET

African Copper Plc: Commencement of Permitting Process

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 14, 2005) - African Copper Plc (TSX:ACU)(AIM:ACU)(BSE:African Copper) -

Highlights

- Environmental Impact Assessment shows risks are manageable

- Water Study identifies substantial aquifer to the north of the deposit

- Environmental and Water Study submitted to Ministry of Mines with approval expected in 8 weeks

- Archaeological Impact Assessment submitted to National Museum with approval expected in 8 weeks

- Application for surface land rights submitted to Land Board with approval expected in 4 weeks.

- Approval of these reports leads to application for a Mining Licence in early 2006.

African Copper Plc ("African Copper" or the "Company") announces the commencement of the permitting process for operations at its Dukwe Project in north-eastern Botswana. Archaeological, Environmental and Water Studies which commenced in late May were completed in October and submitted to the respective government agencies in early November. Consultations with both government and communities will continue until mid-December. The Company is confident that permits will be secured shortly, and that following this the Company will be in a position to file an application for a Mining Licence as early as January 2006.

Environmental Impact Assessment

A comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Dukwe Project has been completed by Water Surveys (Botswana) Pty, an independent consultant. The Dukwe Project consists of a near-surface oxide and supergene copper deposit that can be recovered by open-pit methods. This material is amenable to either heap leaching or flotation processing. Beneath this deposit is substantial underground copper-sulphide mineralization that requires flotation to produce a copper concentrate. The EIA study incorporated both an open-pit and an underground operating scenario, and incorporates a heap-leach SX-EW and a flotation concentrator processing plants. The study concludes that any risks inherent in developing and operating a mine at the Dukwe Project are manageable.

The open-pit heap-leach SX-EW engineering is complete, however the Company has deferred an immediate development decision on this scenario pending the completion of design engineering on the underground mine and flotation concentrator. The open-pit heap-leach SX-EW option is expected to produce about 12,000 tonnes of copper cathode per year. The underground mine is forecast to produce about 34,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate per year, and the Company has decided that an acceleration of the underground mine within the project timetable is warranted. The EIA therefore covers all possible operating scenarios. Presentations to the Government Environmental Steering Committee are scheduled to take place before the end of November and the Company expects to have a decision in late December or in early 2006.

Water Study

A comprehensive Water Study was completed by Water Surveys (Botswana) Pty, an independent consultant. The study concludes that there appears to be little impact to ambient surface and subsurface water systems as a result of the development of the Dukwe Project. Furthermore, the study has identified a portion of the Mea Arkose aquifer as having sufficient water resources to support both heap-leach SX-EW and a concentrator concurrently. A possible bore-field location has been identified about 10 kilometres to the north of the project area and the Company has applied for both surface and water rights in this area. Boring and testing of water flow is expected to commence once the surface and water rights are granted.

Archaeological Impact Assessment

An Archaeological Impact Assessment (AIA) has been completed for the project area by Morope Research, an independent archaeological consultant. The report concludes that there are no barriers to development and has recommended a mitigation plan over the life-of-mine. The approval of the National Museum is expected by the end of the year.

Land Board Applications for Surface Rights

Applications have been submitted to the local Land Board requesting the granting of surface rights over the proposed mine plant site, as well as road and pipeline routes to the site. The Land Board's decision making process will consider the application and all the land uses in the area. The Company does not foresee any barriers to development of the project, and expects to have the decision of the Land Board by the end of November.

The final reports will be available on the African Copper website at www.africancopper.com once final comments are received from the government agencies and any required changes have been incorporated into the documents.

African Copper is a tri-listed (AIM, TSX, Botswana Stock Exchange) international exploration and mining company. Six drills are currently on-site completing a sulphide delineation programme, and a Bankable Feasibility Study on the open-pit portion of the deposit is on schedule for completion later this year. African Copper expects to commence construction of the Dukwe Project in early 2006. The Company's other interests are the 4,000 sq km Matsitama exploration concession adjacent to Dukwe, which contains two known copper deposits and numerous base metal exploration targets. African Copper has approximately 52 million shares outstanding.

Mr. Joseph Hamilton, P.Geo, and Chief Operating Officer of African Copper is a "qualified person" as defined in Canada by NI43-101. This press release has been prepared under Mr. Hamilton's supervision.

This document may contain or refer to forward looking information, including reserve and resource estimates, estimates of future production, exploration and mine development, unit costs, costs of capital projects and timing of commencement of operations and estimates of market conditions, and is based on current expectations that involve a number of business risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from any forward looking statement include, but are not limited to, failure to establish estimated resources and reserves, the grade and recovery of ore which is mined varying from estimates, capital and operating costs varying significantly from estimates, delays in obtaining or failures to obtain required governmental, environmental or other project approvals, inflation, changes in exchange rates, fluctuations in commodity prices, delays in the development of projects and other factors. Forward-looking statements are subject to significant risks and uncertainties, and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expected results. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date hereof and we assume no responsibility to update them or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances.

Further information about our properties, to download a copy of our Annual Report, any technical report, our AIM prospectus or to access our Press Release Archive please visit.www.sedar.com or our website at www.africancopper.com.

The Toronto Stock Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Contact Information

  • African Copper Plc
    David Jones / Joseph Hamilton
    +44 (0)20 7529 7500
    www.africancopper.com
    or
    Numis Securities Limited (NOMAD)
    John Harrison / James Black
    +44 (0)20 7776 1590
    or
    Parkgreen Communications
    Justine Howarth / Ana Ribeiro
    +44 (0)20 7493 3713