Graphite miner Bass Metals (ASX: BSM) has cemented its position at its 100%-owned flagship Graphmada large flake graphite project in Madagascar after executing agreements giving it 20-year full landholder rights over the area.
The agreement is back-dated to 2016, when Bass Metals first took control of the operation, and will provide the company with ownership security through to 2035. The agreement encompasses 461,000 square meters and includes all infrastructure and most graphite resources and identified mineralisation.
Commenting on the agreement Bass Metals chief executive officer Tim McManus said the agreements’ longevity enabled the company to plan for long-term production.
In conjunction with the 20-year landholder agreements, the project has 40-year mining permits in place.
Located in eastern Madagascar, Graphmada is a large flake graphite project which includes the Graphmada mine, and processing plant that will soon be able to produce up to 6,000 tonnes per annum of high purity graphite. It is currently undergoing optimisation and refurbishment, which is due for completion shortly. Recommissioning is scheduled for late 2017, with ramp up to occur in early 2018.
Four large flake deposits at the project have been estimated to possess 382,000 tonnes of contained graphite.
In early October, Bass Metals announced it had secured an offtake agreement for 50% of the graphite produced for the next three years. The agreement with Europe-based Possehl Erzkontor GmbH will take effect on 1 January 2018.
The concentrate pricing is yet to be agreed on but will be based on end-user demand and logistics expenditure. Possehl plans to sell the concentrate to Europe to sell into refractories, foundries and crucibles where the large flake high purity graphite best-meets industry quality requirements including sizes above 180 microns.
A stage two expansion at Graphmada, due for commissioning in 2019 will boost the plant’s capacity up to 20,000tpa.
The operation is also near to Madagascar’s main highway and 110km to the country’s main port.
Additionally, in late October, Bass Metals agreed to acquire Millie’s Reward lithium project, which is also in Madagascar. Lithium grading up to 7.08% has been uncovered at the project.
Because of its Madagascan experience and connections, Bass Metals believes it can fast-track the Millie’s Reward to an operational mine within three-years.