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Cradle Arc to boost copper output in Botswana from April

[LONDON] Copper producer Cradle Arc is increasing output to 12,000 tonnes per year at a Botswana mine it has restarted and is seeking more mining assets in the African nation to take advantage of rising metals prices, the chief executive said.

Production was halted at Botswana's Mowana mine in 2015, when copper prices fell, in line with a wider commodity crash.

Copper prices at around US$6,700 a tonne have risen more than 50 per cent since falling to nearly US$4,300 a tonne at the start of 2016.

After securing debt funding worth $10 million, CEO Kevin van Wouw said the mine would accelerate development to lift output to 12,000 tonnes per year over the next three to four months.

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The goal after that would be 20,000 tonnes per year, he added.

Longer-term, many analysts are bullish on copper because of demand linked to electric vehicles and the expansion of electrical grids around the world.

Mr Van Wouw wants to increase his base metals exposure in Botswana. "There are numerous assets on the block. We are looking at a number of them," he said in a telephone interview, without giving details.

Cradle Arc, formerly known as Alecto Minerals, relaunched with a listing on London's AIM market for small companies in January, raising 5.65 million pounds (S$10.5 million) to support the Mowana mine.