The government of Namibia has refused to renew the exclusive prospecting licence for its Haib copper project once again. Namibia Mines and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo confirmed the report and said the Ministry has denied Deep-South’s application for the renewal of its exclusive prospecting licence 3140 due to their inability to advance the EPL to prefeasibility study (PFS) stage and to complete the proposed drilling programme as planned.
However, in a statement, Deep-South points out that it kept the Ministry of Mines and Energy well apprised, with no objection on its part, of a proposed change from the PFS to an upgraded preliminary economic assessment, as well as the start of a full feasibility study.
Further, Deep-South says the Ministry of Mines and Energy issued all permits required for the drilling programme and is “well aware” that the company has completed the drilling programme. Deep-South said it intends to “vigorously contest” the Ministry’s decision “by all means necessary and available” under the Minerals (Prospecting and Mining) Act and other applicable laws of Namibia.
Act to justify the renewal
In its application for renewal and subsequent representations made to the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Deep-South maintains that it “clearly demonstrated” having met all criteria under the Act to justify the renewal of its licence.
It said in the past two tenures, from April 2017 to April 2021, it had invested more than C$2 million on Haib, including an updated preliminary economic assessment, and had proposed a US $7.1 million feasibility study and US $25.5 million pilot plant. Drilling results in May had included 152.34m at 0.47% copper-equivalent from surface. However a day after last week’s meeting, the company said it received a notice from the minister confirming the renewal had been refused.
“As a result of the minister’s refusal to renew the licence, the company has terminated all work on site and has proceeded with the retrenchment of its employees on site,” said Deep-South in the statement.