Global economic uncertainties have pushed Metal Tiger, a listed investor in natural resources, to cut its investment in Sandfire Resources, the developers of Motheo Mine. The company told shareholders this week of its decision to dispose of, in aggregate, 445,000 shares in Sandfire. “In light of prevailing market conditions, we have taken appropriate measures to reduce our risk exposure as it relates to the loan which we believe is in the best interest of the company and stakeholders,” said Chief Executive Officer of Metal Tiger, Michael McNeilly. The development comes on the backdrop of Sandfire reporting a net profit of A$170,082,000 as of 30 June 2021 and net assets of A$910,576,000.

McNeilly said after the disposals, Metal Tiger is interested in 7,367,057 Sandfire Shares representing approximately 1.8 percent of Sandfire’s issued share capital. He further said Metal Tiger will use the partial proceeds of these sales on settlement to pre-pay A$1,540,000 against the outstanding loan principal of A$9m. Despite market uncertainties, Sandfire has recently announced that open pit mining has commenced at Motheo Copper Mine, as the project moves towards production.

“The start of open pit mining operations represents another important step on the road to production,” said Sandfire Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Karl Simich. The contracting partner at the Motheo Copper Mine, African Mining Services (AMS), has started open pit mining operations at the T3 Open Pit ahead of schedule. Simich said development at Motheo is proceeding on schedule and on budget, with first production expected in the first half of calendar year 2023.

Motheo is expected to be a substantial new long-life copper mine and one of the few new copper mines under construction anywhere in the world. “It is expected to become the cornerstone of a long-term copper mining hub for Sandfire in the world-class Kalahari Copper Belt,” said Simich. Motheo copper project is currently undergoing development.

Giving an update on the project recently, Sandifire Executive head(Botswana) Dale Burgess says the project is progressing well. “The roads we require to access the site from the A3 highway are well advanced, we’ve completed a 670-bed construction camp and we’re building a 750-room mine village,” he states.

“Construction of the foundations for the crusher, reclaim tunnel and mill has started with over 1 500 m3 of concrete poured as of mid-February. On the mining side, the mining contractor has mobilised to site and machines are being assembled in preparation for the start of pre-strip operations," he tolf Mining Review.