Exports of copper and nickel reached P3.9 billion last year, more than three times their level in 2021, as the industry powered back to life following years of inactivity.
According to Bank of Botswana data made available recently, the value of base metal exports progressively grew across all quarters last year, starting at P653.4 million in the first three months of the year and ending the last three at P1.2 billion.
The trend supports other data indicating that much of the performance last year was due to Khoemacau Copper Mining, which spent 2022 ramping up to its nameplate output capacity of 65,000 tonnes per annum.
Built for $412 million (P5 billion), Khoemacau is currently the country’s sole producer of copper, as efforts are ongoing to resuscitate the BCL Mines and the Mowana operation, now known as Kopano Copper Mine. Construction of Sandfire’s Motheo Mine, situated near Khoemacau, is also being finalised at a cost of more than $200 million.
Khoemacau, meanwhile, is also progressing technical studies into a $700 million expansion which will double output to 130,000 tonnes by 2026, a figure that would put Botswana within the top 30 copper producers in the world.