African Copper Plc
AIM : ACU

African Copper Plc

December 14, 2010 02:00 ET

African Copper Plc: Receipt of Mining Licence for the Thakadu Copper-Silver Deposit

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Dec. 14, 2010) - African Copper Plc ("ACU" or "the Company") (AIM:ACU)(BOTSWANA:AFRICAN COPPER), the AIM-listed copper producer and exploration company, currently focused on Botswana, announces receipt of a Mining Licence ("the Mining Licence") from the Botswana Government for its Thakadu copper-silver deposit some 80 km from the Company's Mowana Mine in the north east of the country.

The Mining Licence has been granted on condition that the area declared as an archaeological site is restricted to underground mining processes so as to avoid disturbing the archaeological site contained within the approved mine lease area. All other areas not declared as archaeological sites or national monuments can be mined using open pit mining. It is anticipated that the current interim open pit cut design would allow for extraction of approximately 1.4 million tonnes of ore.

The issued Mining Licence allows full commercial mining to start while awaiting further consultations on mining out the ore reserve directly underneath the Thakadu archaeological site. On successful conclusion of consultations amongst relevant Botswana Government authorities, an update to the issued Mining Licence will be sought by the Company to release the Thakadu Archaeological Site for open pit mining as well.

Thakadu's high grade mineral reserve will be developed in an initially small scale (and relatively low cost) operation with low pre-strip mining requirements and will share the Mowana Mine infrastructure and management. As reported in ACU's Management Discussion & Analysis, announced in June 2010, the principal operational requirement will be to establish sustained transport between the locations and the Company is currently finalizing longer term transportation plans for the project.

A Project Manager was appointed at the start of March 2010 and an initial mining contract awarded to a Botswana company, Strata Mining, until end March 2011. Full mining activities have commenced with a progressive increase in mining volumes anticipated; production is expected to start ramping up in line with the long term mine planning strategy within the next two months.

SAMREC compliant Proven & Probable In-pit Mineral Reserves, at a 0.5% Cu cut-off, as at 31 March 2010 were*:

Category Tonnage Copper Contained Metal
  (Mt) (%) (Tonnes Cu)
 
Proven Reserves Nil Nil Nil
Probable Reserves 2.77 2.15 59,477
Sub-total 2.77 2.15 59,477
In-pit Inferred Resources Nil Nil Nil

Commenting, Jordan Soko, Acting Chief Executive of African Copper Plc, said, "The development of Thakadu provides significant economic benefits to our mining operations in Botswana. We will be able to substantially increase capacity utilisation of the enhanced infrastructure at Mowana and take our total production to a new higher level. I am delighted that we have been able to announce a further successful plank in our business strategy. We can now switch our development focus to the nearby Makala deposit and look forward to increasing the resource/reserve base in African Copper's highly prospective licence areas."

*The technical information in this announcement has been reviewed and approved by David De'Ath, BSc (Hons), MSc, GDE-Mining, MIMM and MAusIMM the Company's Manager Geology of the Mowana Mine for the purposes of the current Guidance Note for Mining, Oil and Gas Companies issued by the London Stock Exchange in June 2009.

This press release contains forward-looking information. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, that address activities, events or developments that the Company believes, expects or anticipates will or may occur in the future including, without limitation, statements regarding the ability of the Company's action plan for developing the Thakadu high grade mineral resources, the successful outcome of consultations amongst relevant Botswana Government authorities to update the issued Mining Licence to release the Thakadu Archaeological Site for open pit mining, the timing of commencing full mining activities at Thakadu, the ability to establish sustained transportation arrangements between Thakadu and Mowana and the timing of finalizing transportation plans, the ability to progressively increase mining activity at Thakadu, the timing of operations commencing at Thakadu and the sufficiency of geological data/information to allow a scoping study to be undertaken at Makala are forward-looking information.
This forward-looking information reflects the current expectations or beliefs of the Company based on information currently available to the Company. Forward-looking information is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause the actual results of the Company to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking information, and even if such actual results are realized or substantially realized, there can be no assurance that they will have the expected consequences to, or effects on the Company. Factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations include, among other things, risks related to failure to convert estimated mineral resources to reserves, conclusions of economic evaluations, changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined, the possibility that actual circumstances will differ from the estimates and assumptions used in the current Thakadu mining plan, future prices of copper, unexpected increases in capital or operating costs, possible variations in mineral resources, possible delays or ability to contract the necessary transportation arrangements between Thakadu and Mowana, grade or recovery rates, failure of equipment or processes to operate as anticipated, accidents, labour disputes and other risks of the mining industry, delays in obtaining governmental consents, permits, licences and registrations, political risks arising from operating in Africa, changes in regulation s affecting the Company and the other risks disclosed in the Company's most recent annual information form filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. All forward-looking information speaks only as of the date hereof and, except as may be required by applicable securities laws, the Company disclaims any intent or obligation to update any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or results or otherwise. Although the Company believes that its expectations reflected in the forward-looking information, as well as the assumptions inherent therein, are reasonable, forward-looking information is not a guarantee of future performance and, accordingly, undue reliance should not be put on such information due to the inherent uncertainty therein.

For further information please visit www.africancopper.com.

Notes to Editors:

African Copper Plc is an AIM-listed copper producer and exploration company, currently focused on Botswana. The Company's flagship project is the copper producing open pit Mowana mine. ACU also owns the rights to the adjacent Thakadu-Makala deposit. Both deposits are situated on the highly prospective Matsitama belt, located close to Botswana's second largest city, Francistown, in the north- eastern part of the country.

Contact Information

  • African Copper Plc
    Brad Kipp
    Chief Financial Officer
    +1 (416) 847 4866
    bradk@africancopper.com
    or
    Tavistock Communications (PR and IR)
    Simon Hudson/Lydia Eades
    +44 (0) 20 7920 3150
    or
    Canaccord Genuity (NOMAD and Broker)
    Andrew Chubb/Tarica Mpinga
    +44 (0) 20 7050 6500