Perenti has been awarded a $496m contract by Australian firm Sandfire Resources to provide open-pit mining services at the T3 pit at Botswana‘s Motheo copper project.

Under the agreement, Perenti subsidiary African Mining Services (AMS) will partner with potential local firms for the project.

AMS and the selected partners will later transition to the joint venture before the start of the mining work at the project, which is scheduled for early next year.

The contract, however, is due to be finalised. It is subject to Sandfire securing a mining licence for the Motheo project and the finalisation of the mining services contract.

Perenti managing director and CEO Mark Norwell said that the Motheo project would help Perenti expand its presence in Botswana, which is claimed to one of the world’s most attractive mining jurisdictions.

Norwell commented: “Growing our footprint in Botswana is aligned with our 2025 strategy, to further expand into stable mining jurisdictions and pursue quality projects.

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“The benefit of adding Motheo to the Perenti project portfolio is the opportunity to leverage our existing in-region operational presence at Zone 5, as well as partnering with Sandfire to develop Botswana’s next large-scale, highly productive, world-class copper mine.”

The contract has an initial term of seven years and three months. It also has options for a one-year extension.

The Motheo project is expected to generate approximately 1,000 jobs during the construction phase and 600 full-time jobs once it starts production, which is scheduled for 2023.

Based on production from the T3 pit, the Motheo mine will have an initial mine life of 12.5 years.