The area lies on the northern fringe of the Kalahari Desert of central Botswana. It is described as being flat lying sand savannah which supports a natural vegetation of trees, shrubs and grasses. The natural vegetation has been modified by many years of cattle grazing and limited arable farming.
The property is at an elevation of 1,022m above sea level. The ground slopes very gently to the north into the Makgadigadi Depression. The dry valley of the now fossil Letlhakane River passes some 18 km to the northeast of the property and is the only notable physiographic feature in the immediate area.
The property area is communal agricultural land used mainly for cattle grazing with limited arable farming. Surface rights have been secured over the mining license to provide sufficient space for rock dumps, tailings dams and mine infrastructure. An amendment to the mining license was subsequently approved to increase the surface rights area of the mining license and a further increase in the surface rights area has been requested.
The property is accessed by 15km of all-weather gravel and sand road from the tarred Letlhakane to Orapa road. This road has recently been upgraded to be suitable for heavy mine traffic. Letlhakane village is the closest settlement and offers basic facilities, including fuel. At the 2001 census Letlhakane had a population of 15,000 rising by 5.7% annually (Central Statistics Office, Gaborone), thus at present (2012), probably has a population of 20,000 to 25,000. There are good telecommunications including cellular telephone networks in the area. Letlhakane is reached from the major cities of Gaborone and Francistown by good quality tarred roads. There is an airstrip in the Karowe Mine lease area for light aircraft (finalized in February 2012) and a larger airstrip within the nearby Debswana controlled Orapa township but the closest airport with commercial flights is Francistown, some 200km to the east and 2.5 hours away by road. Immigration and customs facilities are available, or can be arranged at short notice, at all locations and therefore can accept international flights.
The climate is hot and semi-arid, with an average annual rainfall of 462mm at Francistown, which falls almost entirely in the summer months from October to April (Dept of Meteorological Services, Gaborone). Summer maximum temperatures are high, generally >30°C, whilst winter days are mild and the nights cold (often <10°C) with occasional ground frost. High diurnal ranges are experienced in all seasons. The climate does not impede mining operations, which can continue year round.
The area has a history of diamond mining dating to 1971 when operations started at the nearby Orapa Mine, one of the largest diamond mines in the world. In 2008, the Orapa Mine produced nearly 17 million carats. The smaller Letlhakane diamond mine commenced production in 1978 and produced a further 1.2 million carats in 2008. There is therefore a reserve of qualified and experienced manpower in the immediate area. The major nickel/copper mining operations at Tati Nickel Mining Company (Pty) Ltd., near Francistown, and at the Selebi-Phikwe (BCL) smelter, have also added to the supply of labour with mining related skills.
Electrical power is provided by Botwana Power Corporation's national grid. Water for the existing mines derives from a strong aquifer at the contact of the Ntane Sandstone Formation and the overlying Karoo basalt. The aquifers are well understood and proven, and there is sufficient capacity for development of the Karowe project. Reference is made to AK6 Kimberlite Technical Report for detailed plans to provide power and water to the project.
Accommodation for personnel during the mine establishment and life of mine has been planned by utilizing a combination of leasing of available housing and obtaining land for building new houses. New houses will be built by local companies and leased by Boteti. The Orapa Mine has agreed that the Orapa construction camp can be used by Boteti during the mine construction phase.
The information in this section which is of a scientific or technical nature has been derived from the following technical report:
AK6 Kimberlite Project, NI 43-101 Technical Report revision and update on the AK6 Kimberlite Mine, Botswana", dated December 31, 2010 prepared by MSA Geoservices (Pty) Ltd. and authored by Messrs. Ian McGeorge, Consulting Geologist (BSc (Hons), Geol. MSc, CGeol, FGS), Mike Lynn, Senior Project Manager (BSc (Hons), Geol, MSc), Johannes Ferreira, Consulting Geostatistician (MSc, DEA Geostatistics, PrSciNat) and Rob Croll, Consulting Engineer (BSc (Min Eng)), Dave Blair, Consulting Environmental Scientist (BSc (Hons) Zool., Pri.Sci.Nat) and Dr. Kym Morton, Consulting Hydrogeologist (PhD FGS FSAIMM, Pri.Sci.Nat), each of whom is a "qualified person" within the meaning of this term in National Instrument 43-101 (the "AK6 Kimberlite Technical Report").
Copies of the above-mentioned technical reports are available under the Company's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.