Tag Archives: Tanzania

BHP backs Kabanga Nickel mine development and refinery plan

BHP has invested $40 million in Tanzania-focused Kabanga Nickel, in addition to backing Lifezone Limited and its patented hydrometallurgical technology with a $10 million investment.

Kabanga Nickel Limited says its share of the cash will be used to accelerate the development of the Kabanga nickel project in Tanzania, which it claims is the world’s largest development-ready nickel sulphide deposit.

Lifezone, meanwhile, will use the funds to advance the roll-out of its technologies. The owner of the hydrometallurgy technology that will be used to build and operate the planned nickel refinery in Tanzania, Lifezone claims this technology is more cost efficient than smelting, has a significantly lower environmental impact, and will ensure that finished Class 1 battery-grade nickel, copper and cobalt will be produced in Tanzania.

Chris Showalter, Kabanga Nickel CEO, said: “BHP is the ideal partner for Kabanga Nickel, bringing significant advantages and expertise that will enable us to move ahead with the project.

“BHP’s investment reflects the project’s strong ESG credentials and its role in improving environmental performance throughout the nickel value chain. In addition, BHP’s funding support of Lifezone’s hydromet technology – the future of sustainable metals processing – will drive progress towards a greener world. Through development of Kabanga and Lifezone hydromet, Tanzania will have a growing role in the supply of the battery metals needed to move to a global low carbon economy.”

The Kabanga nickel project has had more than $290 million spent on it by previous owners such as Barrick and Glencore between 2005 and 2014, including 587,000 m of drilling. The outcome of this previous investment is an in-situ mineral resource of 58 Mt at 2.62% Ni, containing more than 1.52 Mt of nickel, 190,000 t of copper and 120,000 t of cobalt. The Barrick-Glencore joint venture also outlined a mine plan in a draft feasibility study that looked to recover 49.3 Mt of ore at 2.69% nickel equivalent from the two primary orebodies – North and Tembo. Kabanga is in the process of updating this plan.

While the BHP transaction is for a total consideration of $50 million, with investments in both Kabanga Nickel ($40 million) and Lifezone ($10 million), future investment tranches in Kabanga Nickel have been agreed subject to certain conditions. This includes a second tranche of $50 million and the right for BHP to make a further investment in Kabanga Nickel subject to achieving certain agreed milestones.

The first tranche of $40 million will convert into an 8.9% equity stake in Kabanga Nickel (7.5% see-through interest in Tembo Nickel Corp) once approvals and conditions are met. Once invested and on conversion, the second tranche of $50 million will increase BHP’s equity stake in Kabanga Nickel to 17.8% (15% see-through interest in Tembo), thereby valuing the project at $658 million, post-money. Tembo Nickel is the joint venture owner of the project, owned 84% by Kabanga Nickel and 16% by the Government of Tanzania, set to undertake mining, processing and refining to Class 1 nickel with cobalt and copper co-products near the asset.

The investment into Kabanga Nickel from BHP will support an acceleration in the mine’s development, including an enhanced metallurgical drilling program (which has already started) to enable update of the definitive feasibility study and support the construction plans for the hydromet refinery. These studies are expected to be completed by the end of 2022. Site and infrastructure development is already underway. The investment will also support hiring and training of local Tanzanian talent.

The investment into Lifezone allows for new patent applications as well as R&D work that will further commercialise the Lifezone hydrometallurgical technology. Lifezone currently has patents granted in over 150 countries.

The current project development timeline anticipates first production in 2025. Output will ramp up to target a minimum annual production of 40,000 t of nickel, 6,000 t of copper and 3,000 t of cobalt.

Capital captures surface production drilling gig at AngloGold’s Geita

Capital’s Tanzania-based subsidiary, CMS (Tanzania) Limited, has been successfully awarded a surface production drilling contract with AngloGold Ashanti at the Geita gold mine in Tanzania.

The three-year contract will use five rigs from the mining service company’s existing fleet, together with the acquisition of one new rig during 2022, to continue provision of blasthole drilling services at the Geita mine, bringing the total number of rigs operating on site to 25.

CMS is an 80:20 joint venture between the mining services company and local company CK Washirika Limited. The joint venture, which is fully compliant with the local content law in Tanzania, demonstrates Capital’s commitment to building capabilities and supporting local communities, it said.

The new contract supplements the two existing three-year contracts, a surface drilling contract for exploration and grade control services and an underground contract for grade control and exploration drilling services, both of which were renewed in the first half of 2021 and are also fully compliant to local content laws in Tanzania.

This contract further cements Capital’s long-term relationship with AngloGold Ashanti, which started with the provision of grade control drilling services at the Geita site in 2006 and will now extend to 2025.

The production drilling contract started in December and is anticipated to generate revenues of $33 million over the contract term.

Jamie Boyton, Capital Executive Chairman, said: “The contract continues Capital’s delivery of production drilling to the site and reflects the team’s excellent operational and safety performance in providing drilling services to the Geita mine for more than 15 years. Importantly, the contract award also supports our strategy of building the sustainability of the business by maintaining the portfolio of long-term mine-site based clients.”

Lifezone hydromet tech blueprint puts Kabanga Nickel in pole refining position

Kabanga Nickel is ready to put its ‘money where its technology is’ in the pursuit of production from a highly prospective nickel-copper-cobalt asset in Tanzania, according to Keith Liddell, Executive Chairman.

Having been granted access to a project that has had more than $290 million spent on it by previous owners such as Barrick Gold and Glencore between 2005 and 2014, including 587,000 m of drilling, the company is coming at the Kabanga project with a fresh set of eyes and a plan that aligns with the government’s in-country beneficiation requirements.

The outcome of this previous investment is an in-situ mineral resource of 58 Mt at 2.62% Ni, containing more than 1.52 Mt of nickel, 190,000 t of copper and 120,000 t of cobalt. This resource is in the process of being updated with the latest modelling software.

The Barrick-Glencore joint venture also outlined a mine plan in a draft feasibility study that looked to recover 49.3 Mt of ore at 2.69% nickel equivalent from the two primary orebodies – North and Tembo. Again, Kabanga is re-evaluating this strategy, having identified several opportunities to enhance project outcomes including a development plan that facilitates higher production rates and access to high-grade ore earlier in the mining schedule.

Yet, the biggest departure from the previous plans for Kabanga is the “mine to metal” concept that Liddell and Dr Mike Adams, Senior Vice President: Processing & Refining, have been marketing.

This is part of the reason why the Tanzanian Government signed a binding framework agreement with Kabanga Nickel earlier this year that resulted in a joint venture company called Tembo Nickel Corp (owned 84% by Kabanga Nickel and 16% by the Government of Tanzania) to undertake mining, processing and refining to Class 1 nickel with cobalt and copper co-products near the asset.

Unlike the plethora of smelter plans being drawn up in the likes of Indonesia and the Philippines – two other countries attempting to keep more ‘metal value’ in-country – Kabanga’s plan hinges on a hydrometallurgical refining route.

This isn’t a carbon copy of the high pressure acid leaching (HPAL) technology the industry is used to hearing about – most of the time for the wrong reasons. The hydrometallurgy Kabanga is talking about is more in keeping with the process Vale uses at Long Harbour in Canada, Adams pointed out.

“There’s hydrometallurgy and then there’s hydrometallurgy,” he told IM. “HPAL is incredibly different to the Lifezone hydrometallurgy we are proposing at Kabanga, which is dealing with sulphide concentrates. Our process is effectively 17% of the HPAL carbon footprint; HPAL has a much higher carbon footprint than smelting, let alone what we are proposing.

“Our technology comes with lower temperatures and pressures, and the materials of construction are nowhere near as exotic as HPAL. It is more economic and more environmentally friendly than both HPAL and smelting.”

The ‘Lifezone’ Adams mentioned is Lifezone Limited, a technology and development company established by Liddell to exclusively own and develop the patented rights to the Kell Process – a unique hydrometallurgical process. Although devised to treat platinum group metals and refractory gold ores without smelting or the use of cyanide, and with major energy savings, cost benefits and a significantly reduced environmental impact (CO2 and SO2) over conventional technologies, the Kabanga team is keen to draw from Lifezone’s experiences when it comes to devising the refining plan in Tanzania.

They and much of the South African platinum industry are looking at developments at Sedibelo Platinum’s Pilanesberg Platinum Mines (PPM) operation on the Bushveld Complex where a 110,000 t/y beneficiation plant employing the Kell Process is currently being constructed. This plant has the capacity to produce 320,000 oz/y of platinum group metals at the refinery end, with seven refined metal products set to be produced on site.

If Sedibelo, which Liddell is a shareholder of, can achieve such a feat, it will become the first South African PGM operation producing refined PGM, gold and base metal products on site. At the same time, this metal production would come with some 82% less energy consumption and the associated significant reduction in carbon emissions, plus improved recoveries and lower operating costs, than conventional off-site PGM smelting.

But, back to Tanzania, where the aim is to deploy hydromet technology with a specifically designed flowsheet to leach and refine the base metals. End products from the Kabanga refinery will be Class 1 nickel and cobalt metals with >99.95% purity readily saleable to customers worldwide, as well as A-grade copper cathode for the Tanzanian market, according to the company.

Not only is this different to conventional pyrometallurgical nickel sulphide smelting and refining – which, according to Liddell comes with around 13 t of CO2 emissions per tonne of Class 1 nickel metal, compared with the 4 t of CO2 emissions per tonne of nickel (Nickel Institute industry baseline numbers) with the Lifezone hydrometallurgical route – it also removes the need to transport and export concentrate long distances to European, North American or Asian smelters and refineries for further processing.

Such benefits and plans go some way to answering the questions around how Kabanga is holding a nickel-copper-cobalt asset that many battery metal investors and mining companies would be interested in.

Kabanga Nickel is putting Lifezone’s hydrometallurgy expertise to the test at the project in Tanzania

The majors might not be ready to offer up a plan featuring in-country beneficiation with new technology, but Kabanga and Lifezone are.

“As you know, the industry is very conservative – no-one wants to be first, they want to be second,” Liddell said. “As technology providers, we’re going to be first and second – first with the Kell Process plant in South Africa and second with the hydromet plant at Kabanga.

“We have ownership in those so, in effect, we are putting our money where our technology is. In a conservative industry, you have to do this.”

Liddell is right.

Take battery-electric vehicles or hard-rock cutting technology on the mobile equipment side of the mining business. The OEMs, to gain market traction, had to invest in the technology, build prototypes and mine-ready vehicles and then convince the miners to test them at their sites – most of the risk was held with the tech providers, not the miners.

While Lifezone will have to take on similar technology and financial risks for industry buy-in, all the billed benefits of its hydromet technology fit the mining industry ESG and productivity brief, making it a technology that has applications beyond Kabanga, Tanzania and nickel.

According to the company, it represents an architecture of several well-proven “breakthrough” hydromet process technologies – namely pressure oxidation of sulphide minerals, selective solvent extraction of metals and selective metal absorbents – that realise the value of all waste streams, both in-process and by constructing local, regional and global circular economies.

It comes with higher metal recoveries, lower costs, lower environmental impact, a less complex flowsheet, shorter production pipeline and reduced value lockup for those companies employing it. This means metal production comes sooner, more metal is produced at a lower cost and with a lower footprint and less potentially payable metal is left in the waste stream due to a lack of viable processing options.

The main unit operations at Kabanga are likely to include aqueous pressure oxidation in an autoclave to dissolve the sulphides and remove the base metals; copper refining by SX-EW; iron removal to purify the solution for cobalt and nickel refining; cobalt refining by SX-EW; and nickel refining by SX-EW. This could result in 40,000-50,000 t/y of nickel metal as cathode, powder or briquette, alongside 8,000 t of copper cathode and 3,500 t/y of cobalt cathode or rounds.

The refinery blueprint – designed in a modular manner to bolt on additional process trains, according to Liddell and Adams – could see Tanzania become the multi-metals processing hub it has eyes on, processing material from across East Africa and retaining more value in-country. Down the line, it could align itself even closer with the battery metals sector by producing precursor products that gigafactories are calling out for.

Beyond Kabanga Nickel, Liddell sees potential for applying this hydromet concept at existing smelting operations to lower the footprint and operating cost of operations.

“The hydromet process uses anywhere between one fifth and one third of a smelter’s electricity input,” he explained. “You can replace a 50 MW electric smelter with a 10 MW hydromet plant. At the same time, the process allows refiners to get more metal out of the concentrate. This means the lower energy draw and increased revenues can pay back the money invested in a hydromet plant.”

For operations looking to incorporate more renewables, this reduced power draw is a major selling point.

Similarly, for countries like South Africa looking to retain or grow its metal production blueprint while weaning themselves off coal amid routine power blackouts, the concept stacks up.

“In South Africa, you could end up producing the same amount of metals off a much lower power base, and it’s then much cheaper to green up that electricity,” Liddell said.

The potential is vast, and Kabanga Nickel has an 18-month program currently ahead of it to start development.

This one-and-a-half-year plan follows the recent issue of a mining licence that allows the company to get on the ground – symbolised by the drill rig (pictured above) that is about to start turning on site.

Over this timeframe, the plan is to update the existing feasibility study numbers and bolt a refinery module onto it, explore avenues with metallurgical drilling to boost the concentrate grade and re-work the mine design to access the two orebodies simultaneously. The latter is one of the ways the team could access more value sooner in the production process.

All of this could set the company up to start production from Kabanga in 2024-2025, 1-2 years after the Kell Process goes live at Sedibelo’s operation and in time for a further run up in battery metals demand and, most likely, more governments legislating for in-country beneficiation.

Kabanga Nickel and Lifezone’s plans could end up being a future tried-and-tested blueprint.

Perenti’s AUMS wins two-year extension at AngloGold’s Geita operation

Perenti Global’s African Underground Mining Services (AUMS) has secured a new two-year contract to continue operations at AngloGold Ashanti’s Geita Mine in Tanzania.

The two-year agreement will take effect immediately and comes with a value of $186 million (100% share).

As part of the new contract, Perenti will transfer 20% of equity in AUMS Tanzania to a newly created mining support services company called BG Umoja Services Limited. BG Umoja is an 80:20 joint venture between Perenti group entities and local drilling services and mining supply company, Geofields Tanzania Limited, which will supply mining support services to the Geita mine.

The establishment of the BG Umoja JV demonstrates Perenti’s ongoing commitment to support and build local capability, generating enduring social and economic value for the regions in which the company operates, Perenti said.

The Geita Complex is located within the Lake Victoria Goldfields of the Mwanza Region, about 120 km from Mwanza and 4 km west of the town of Geita. The Geita Mine was originally an open-pit operation, however, transitioned to an underground operation in 2016. Since this transition, AUMS has worked collaboratively with AngloGold Ashanti to provide a full suite of integrated underground mining services for the mine.

AUMS Tanzania, supported by Geofields, will continue to provide AngloGold Ashanti with underground mining services while facilitating the development of improved underground mining technical capability within the broader Tanzanian workforce.

Mark Norwell, Managing Director and CEO of Perenti, said: “We are very pleased to be continuing our strong, long-term working relationship with AngloGold Ashanti at their flagship Geita Mine.

“Furthermore, this contract extension includes the addition of Geita Hill, a new underground development within the Geita Complex, which will see a steady increase in our scope of works and revenue run rate as the development ramps up from a single heading decline into multiple work areas and then into production later in 2021. This contract extension is expected to generate an improved earnings contribution for Perenti over the contract term.”

Perenti’s Mining Chief Executive Officer, Paul Muller, said Perenti first started operating in Tanzania in the late 1990s and the award of the contract extension at the Geita mine provided it with an opportunity to continue to partner with, and support numerous local businesses, suppliers and contractors.

“We look forward to expanding on these relationships as we seek to create enduring value and certainty for all of our stakeholders,” he said.

Capital receives underground drilling boost at AngloGold’s Geita mine

Mining service company Capital has been awarded two new three-year contracts at AngloGold Ashanti’s Geita gold mine in Tanzania.

Included in these contracts is the continuation of surface delineation and open-pit grade control drilling services, plus underground grade control and delineation drilling, with an expanded scope for underground drilling activities.

The award, Capital says, is subject to final contract execution and relevant government approvals. Both contracts are due to commence on April 1 and are anticipated to generate revenues of $65 million over the contract term.

The underground contract will use nine rigs, including five from the existing fleet together with an additional four new rigs, which have been secured and are currently in transit to the site. The surface delineation contract will use the existing fleet of five rigs.

Capital has been providing drilling services at Geita since 2006.

Jamie Boyton, Executive Chairman, said: “The awarding of the contracts at the Geita Gold Mine maintains our long-standing relationship with AngloGold Ashanti and is in line with our strategy of focusing on long-term mine site contracts with premier clients, underpinning the sustainability of our business. The contracts, which have been expanded from the previous contracts, reflect the Capital team’s excellent operational performance in safely delivering drilling services at the site since 2006.”

Capital bolsters Barrick Bulyanhulu work with laboratory, drilling contracts

Africa-focused mining services company, Capital, says it expanded its operations at Barrick Gold’s Bulyanhulu gold mine in Tanzania with the award of two new contracts for its drilling and geochemical laboratory services divisions.

The contracts include a five-year laboratory services contract for Capital’s MSALABS subsidiary, together with a two-year underground grade control drilling agreement.

Capital commenced operations at Bulyanhulu in February 2020, undertaking a complex deep hole delineation drilling program. The company’s execution of the program resulted in an expansion of services, with two underground rigs added to operations from May, it said. The new contract will expand the underground fleet at Bulyanhulu to four, using two rigs from the existing fleet and including the acquisition of a further two underground rigs.

MSALABS, meanwhile, will undertake initial laboratory design and deliver ongoing laboratory management and analysis services under the laboratory services contract. Analysis capabilities will include fire assay together with new Chrysos PhotonAssay technology that uses X-ray technology to determine the gold content of mineral ores more quickly and accurately than traditional methods.

The contract terms are expected to be finalised imminently for a five-year term, key personnel recruitment and training is now complete and initial commissioning processes are underway, Capital said, adding that the new contracts were scheduled to commence on December 1.

Stuart Thomson, MSALABS CEO, said: “We are excited to commence this new contract with Barrick to manage their on-site laboratory at the Bulyanhulu mine. The use of the ground-breaking new Chrysos PhotonAssay technology will significantly increase assay throughput at Bulyanhulu, while delivering a much faster sample turnaround time for Barrick.”

Capital’s Executive Chairman, Jamie Boyton, said: “We are very pleased to be expanding our services at the Bulyanhulu Gold Mine and continue our valued relationship with Barrick. It is particularly pleasing that our team’s successful execution of the initial deep hole drilling program has contributed to this expansion and we are now delivering multiple services at the site.

“This aligns to Capital’s growth strategy of expanding services with existing customers at established mine sites, with the laboratory services contract to contribute to an increase in the company’s non-drilling revenues.”

Micromine software verifies gold reserve at Shanta’s Singida project

Shanta Gold has tapped the resource estimation powers of Micromine to confirm the presence of a gold reserve at its Singida project, in central Tanzania, according to the mining software provider.

MICROMINE’s exploration and mine design solution, Micromine, which offers integrated tools for modelling, estimation, design, optimisation and scheduling, was used to validate Singida’s 243,000 oz gold deposit, it said.

AIM-listed gold producer Shanta Gold has defined ore resources on the New Luika and Singida projects, in Tanzania.

The New Luika gold mine commenced production in 2012 and produced 874,506 oz in 2019. A mining licence was granted for Singida in 2012, with drilling results from an exploration program conducted in 2016 and a feasibility study indicating the project had nine orebodies, within a 5 km radius, with a combined resource of 858,000 oz of gold. It is estimated production will average 26,000 oz/y for an initial six-year period.

In May 2020, a revised reserve estimate was declared, enabling Shanta Gold to move towards construction and first production at Singida, confident in the possibility of a number of high-grade open pits, MICROMINE said.

Shanta Gold used Micromine to interrogate exploration drilling data to establish and validate the revised estimate, the company explained, with an independent validation process run for each core data log sheet using the software.

“Where there were queries, a report file was created, exported to Excel and sent to the personnel responsible for data capturing to correct the original information,” MICROMINE explained. “Once data confirmation of the updates was received, all databases were refreshed and the validation process repeated in Micromine, with the use of form sets, until all data had been validated.”

Lee Bothma, MICROMINE Africa Sales Manager, said: “Shanta Gold has trusted Micromine to validate data at its flagship New Luika gold mine so it was an obvious choice to use at Singida. Micromine’s Resource Estimation functionality enables a precise and detailed analysis of the resource based on early exploration data.

“Over the years, Shanta Gold has used Micromine’s tools to model and estimate open-pit ore reserves at New Luika. The ability to validate the presence of additional mineralisation has significantly extended the life of mine.”

A JORC-compliant reserve of 2.51 Mt, grading 3 g/t and containing 243,000 oz of gold at a cutoff grade of 1 g/t was declared for Singida in May 2020. Of the reserve estimate, 91% of the contained gold is within 120 m of the surface, highlighting the potential for reserve expansion, MICROMINE said.

The reserve represents a 50% conversion of the project’s independently-verified measured and indicated resource and an updated mine plan will incorporate the new reserve estimate, the company explained.

Singida’s JORC-complaint mineral resource estimate (MRE) was also re-calculated and independently verified by Pivot Mining Consultants. The total MRE is 11.8 Mt, grading 2.38 g/t and containing 904,000 oz of gold, using a cutoff grade of 1.0 g/t. This includes a 17% increase in measured and indicated resources, totalling 5.7 Mt, grading 2.66 g/t and containing 484,000 oz of gold.

Black Rock Mining recruits China Railway Seventh for Mahenge graphite build

Black Rock Mining says it has signed an agreement with China Railway Seventh Group Co Ltd (CRSG) that could see the major Chinese infrastructure contractor help build the Mahenge graphite project in Tanzania.

The project is envisaged as a graphite development that would gradually ramp up to its ultimate 340,000 t/y capacity through the addition of four production modules. In order to reach the start-up module one rate of 85,000 t/y, the company forecasted an initial capital requirement of $116 million. First production is targeted in 2020 or 2021 depending on financing.

This is not Black Rock’s first Chinese agreement for Mahenge. In September 2018, it signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Yantai Jinyuan Mining Machinery Ltd, part of the larger Yantai Jinyuan Group, that committed both parties to work together with a view to Yantai supplying process plant machinery and related infrastructure for Mahenge.

Black Rock says CRSG is part of a large contractor group with significant operations and experience in Africa. CRSG’s parent company, China Railway Group, is a state-owned enterprise and among the largest construction businesses globally.

The non-binding cooperation framework agreement (CFA) outlines the key terms under which Black Rock and CSRG plan to progress to execution of a binding engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the module one process plant and non-process infrastructure at Mahenge. It provides for a coordinated EPC approach between CRSG and Yantai, Black Rock’s existing strategic build partner.

It also provides for the development of a conventional EPC arrangement containing customary performance warranties and typical risk allocation structures (guarantees, bonding) required by project financiers, Black Rock said.

Key agreed terms include a staged approach to the development of a final EPC contact price and a deferred, performance-based payment structure. This deferred payment structure results in over 30% of the total EPC contract value being payable only after completion of final plant performance tests to requisite levels, it said.

Black Rock Managing Director and CEO, John de Vries, said: “This framework agreement is a big step forward for Black Rock and our Mahenge graphite project. To have Black Rock aligned with a project execution partner as large, established, Africa-proven and financially robust as China Railway Seventh is materially significant. Our discussions have been highly collaborative to this point, as reflected directly in the specific framework agreement terms.

“In short, the agreement delivers us greater certainty on our project execution. It has been deliberately structured to deliver a final EPC contract that maximises both partner alignment and appeal to potential project financiers.”

According to de Vries, CRSG and Yantai have also agreed to provide assistance in relation to Mahenge project financing, including any related financing based on Chinese content.

He concluded: “We now look forward to advancing rapidly with CRSG and Yantai towards a final EPC contract for development of the world-class Mahenge graphite project.”

Black Rock and CRSG/Yantai are now targeting the execution of a binding term sheet by March 31, 2020.

MCC to deliver graphite processing plant for Magnis’ Nachu project

Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC) is to deliver a turnkey solution for a 240,000 t/y graphite production facility at Magnis Energy Technologies’ Nachu project, in Tanzania, following the signing of a binding engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract between the two companies.

The $277 million contract will also allow Magnis to access project funding support from the China Export Credit Agency, the ASX-listed company said, adding that initial meetings between all parties had indicated financing of no less than 80% in debt or delayed payments could be achieved in the first half of the year.

Nachu reserves, according to a 2016 study, total 76 Mt at 4.8% Cg for 3.6 Mt of contained graphite, with this tonnage providing sufficient material for an initial operating life of around 15 years.

This comprises close to 11.7 years at 240,000 t/y nameplate concentrate output after which lower-grade ore stockpiles are processed for another three-and-a-half years at an average concentrate output rate of 160,000 t/y.

Magnis said the contact provides a turnkey solution to produce high-purity graphite products and is inclusive of all items and inventory, including but not limited to the processing plant, infrastructure including roads, power, worker camps and storage facilities.

Vice President of MCC International, Wang Zhou, said: “The Nachu project is very unique and is one of the most impressive graphite projects I have seen to date. In particular, our team has been very impressed with the high purity products it can produce, minus any purification.”

Magnis Managing Director, Marc Vogts, meanwhile, called Nachu Tanzania’s most advanced graphite project.

“With the ability to produce 99.95% graphite products via mechanical processes only, Magnis is in a unique position to become a leader in the production of anode materials for the rapidly growing battery market,” he said.

Ilunga UG mine adds to Shanta’s high-grade gold production options

Shanta Gold says it has brought its Ilunga underground mine at the New Luika Gold Mine (NLGM), in south-western Tanzania, into commercial production on schedule and on budget.

The first ore stope is now in production at a depth of 98 m below the portal and 130 m below surface, while the primary ventilation fan and underground infrastructure are installed and operational, the company said.

Commercial output comes following gross pre-production capital investment of only $7.9 million ($5 million after netting off pre-production revenue) and less than 12 months after the underground portal blast at Ilunga was carried out, Shanta said.

Ilunga is now the third source of high-grade underground feed from NLGM alongside Bauhinia Creek and Luika mines. The underground mine has a probable ore reserve of 660,500 t at 5.56 g/t for 118,000 oz contained, as well as inferred resources of 636,647 t at 3.57 g/t for 73,067 oz.

Shanta has previously said it views Ilunga as a high-grade production option in Tanzania, with the potential to contribute up to 25,000 t/month of ore and an average 20,000 oz per planned level of development.

The company previously moved development forward 12 months after the project showed off a “compelling business case”. This included a very low capital intensity of $75/oz (pre-production) and a pre-tax internal rate of return of 129% at a gold price of $1,200/oz.

Underground drilling targeting the conversion of the inferred ounces into the mine plan and extending the mine life at Ilunga is expected to take place in the first half of 2020.

Eric Zurrin, Chief Executive of Shanta Gold, said: “Bringing these high-grade ounces online within budget and on time is yet another example of our model at work, namely: adding low cost ounces to resources at our well established operations, thereby increasing the mine life and the free cash flow generation potential at NLGM.”