Australian gold and copper miner Celsius Resources has been granted a two-year renewal of the exclusive prospecting licence for its Opuwo cobalt project in Namibia.

The Namibian Ministry of Mines and Energy granted the licence renewal for EPL 4346, which spans 683km².

Celsius holds a 95% stake in the Opuwo cobalt project through its Namibian unit, Opuwo Cobalt.

With the licence renewal, Celsius now can further assess the viability of the project, as well as find a partner.

The company is currently conducting trade-off studies on mining costs, production rates and the possibility of processing oxide ores to determine the viability and financial outcomes of the project.

Celsius managing director Peter Hume said: “This is a positive development as we are currently reviewing the Opuwo project to understand how we can strategically unlock its potential value given the high demand for cobalt from the electric vehicles sector.

“This project can potentially produce non-conflict Cobalt in a politically stable country for more than 40 years. With the renewal of the permit and recent positive metallurgical test work results, we anticipate this will attract potential partners in the project.”

Located 730km from the capital city of Windhoek, the Opuwo project is said to be of “very large scale”.

It sits in a mining-friendly location with ample access to power, water and other services that allow for a range of development options.

The updated mineral resource estimate of Opuwo, as reported in July 2021, shows 225.5 million tonnes at a grade of 0.12% cobalt, 0.43% copper and 0.54% zinc.

With the potential to produce 259,000 tonnes (t) of cobalt, Opuwo is expected to be a significant supplier of the metal for the battery market.

An anticipated 970,000t of contained copper can further enhance the viability of the project with the current and forecast pricing of copper.