Ausdrill subsidiary Barmincohas has secured a five-year services contract worth A$800m ($554m) at the Zone 5 Mine in Botswana from Khoemacau Copper Mining.

Khoemacau’s Zone 5 operation is a long-life mine development project in the Kalahari copper belt of Botswana, known to host high prospects of copper-silver resources.

Ausdrill managing director Mark Norwell said: “This contract award is further endorsement of our acquisition of Barminco and its strong contribution to our international growth strategy.”

Under the contract, Barminco will be responsible for mine development, underground mine infrastructure establishment, and diamond drilling programmes.

The scope of the contract also covers an initial mine production at the rate of 3.6Mtpa (million tonnes per annum) of copper ore with further expansion opportunities.

Cupric Canyon Capital and Khoemacau CEO Johan Ferreira said: “We are delighted to partner with Barminco at Zone 5 to create a safe, largescale, highly productive and fully mechanised mine, delivering high quality employment and sustainable skills development and employment outcomes for Botswana citizens.”

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According to Barminco CEO Paul Muller the success of the project will be measured by the creation of a highly skilled local workforce through effective training, skills transfer and leading technology programs, as well as the safety, quality and productivity outcomes at Zone 5.

Mining services are expected to commence in December this year, subject to the closing of Khoemacau Project financing, which is to be completed soon.

In February this year, private equity firm Cupric Canyon Capital’s Khoemacau Copper Mines signed a $565m funding package to start construction at the Khoemacau project.

The funding for the project included a $275m senior debt facility from Red Kite Mine Finance, a $265m silver stream and a $25m subordinated debt facility from Royal Gold’s wholly owned subsidiary RGLD Gold (RG AG).