Cupric Canyon gets $50 million to develop Botswana mine

Cupric Canyon Capital, a private equity firm backed by the ex-Natural Resource Investments unit of Barclays and managed by former executives of Freeport McMoran, said Monday it now has $50 million to bring its Botswana copper-silver project into production.

Khoemacau is expected to initially produce 50,000 tonnes of copper and 1.4 million ounces of silver a year, but future expansions could increase annual output of copper to at least 120,000 tonnes.

Proceeds from the term loan facility agreement, inked between Cupric’s subsidiary Khoemacau Copper Mining (KCM) and Red Kite Mine Finance, will be used to fund the development of the Khoemacau underground mine in northwest Botswana, the firm said.

Funds will also be used to cover costs and front end engineering in advance of starting full-scale construction at the site, planned for the second half of the year, it added.

Located in the Kalahari Copper Belt, the $350 million mine is expected to produce 50,000 tonnes of copper and 1.4 million ounces of silver a year over its 25-year lifespan.

Future expansions could increase production to at least 120,000 tonnes copper a year, the firm said, adding that first shipment of the red metal to markets is expected in 2019.

"This project has the full support of the government of Botswana and the size and quality of the mineral resource makes Khoemacau one of the most attractive new copper projects in the world today," Cupric Canyon Capital's CFO, Rodney Prokop, said in an emailed statement.

KMC plans to utilize the processing plant at the nearby Boseto Mine, which it acquired in 2015 after the liquidation of Discovery Metals.

Founded in 2010, US-based Cupric is owned by its management, which includes former Freeport-McMoRan President Timothy Snider, and Global Natural Resource Investments (GNRI), formerly a unit of Barclays until a management buyout in late 2015.