Armadale Capital plc (LON: ACP), the AIM quoted investment group focused on natural resource projects in Africa, is pleased to provide an update on activities and plans for 2020 as it rapidly advances the Mahenge Liandu graphite project (‘Mahenge’ or ‘the Project’) in south-east Tanzania towards production.
- Targeting commercial production of high-quality graphite concentrate from Mahenge in H1 2021
- Currently finalising DFS, with results due in early 2020 – results to date have continually met or exceeded Board expectations
- Following results of the DFS, the Project’s commercialisation will be a primary focus with key objectives for 2020 including:
- Converting current MoUs with Chinese partners into binding off-take agreements
- Securing a binding commitment from one or more financial institutions to provide project finance – DFS results will better outline project finance requirements
- Undertaking a FEED study to position the Project as construction ready
- Securing requisite regulatory and permitting approvals
- Nick Johansen appointed as Chairman to drive next development phase; Mr Johansen has been a non-executive director since October 2016
- The Company is looking to further bolster the board and has identified a strategic candidate with notable Tanzanian expertise
Armadale Chairman, Nick Johansen, said: “Reflecting on the past year, the Board is delighted with the substantial progress our team has made in advancing Mahenge to the pivotal point of commercialisation we now face. We are set to begin 2020 in a strong position with an excellent project, high quality graphite concentrate, high calibre management team, ready customers and potential project finance providers. The results of the DFS, which are due early in the New Year, will be a driving force in converting ongoing discussions with potential strategic partners into formal commercial agreements, and to this end we are confident the results will further highlight the strong value fundamentals of Mahenge.
“I know that shareholders were expectant of the DFS results this month, but I would like to assure all stakeholders that this slight change in timings does not deter from the strong results with which we look forward to kickstarting the New Year. Indeed, testament to our confidence in the Project we now set our sights on the milestone target of commencing commercial production in H1 2021. The Board is optimistic that our strategic intent to transform from explorer to emerging producer will become a reality within 18 months, at a time of increasing global graphite demand, and as your new Chairman, I look forward to driving this growth and building our team to ensure we deliver on this mandate.”
Mahenge Liandu Graphite Project, Tanzania
Armadale’s wholly-owned Mahenge Liandu Graphite Project is located in a highly prospective region, with a high-grade JORC compliant indicated and inferred mineral resource estimate of 59.5Mt at 9.8% TGC (announced February 2018). This includes 11.5Mt @ 10.5% Measured, 32.1Mt at 9.6% Indicated and 15.9Mt at 9.8% TGC, making it one of the largest high-grade resources in Tanzania.
The work to date has demonstrated the Project’s potential as a commercially viable deposit, with significant tonnage, high-grade coarse flake and near surface mineralisation (implying a low strip ratio) contained within one contiguous ore body.
Currently, Armadale is completing a Definitive Feasibility Study (‘DFS’) based on the results of a Scoping Study that was completed in March 2018. The study was based on a throughput of 400,000tpa over a 32-year mine life and results showed that the Project could produce a coarse flake, high-purity graphite product with robust economics underpinning a compelling business case to progress commercialisation plans.
Key value metrics of the Scoping Study included:
- Producing an average of 49,000tpa of high-quality graphite products for a 32-year mine life;
- The near surface nature of the deposit produced a low 1:1 strip ratio for the life of the mine;
- A low operating cost of US$408/t, based on an average 12.5% TGC life of mine grade;
- A pre-tax IRR of 122% and NPV of US$349m, with a low development capex of US$35m; and
- A maximum draw-down during the construction of the Project of US$34.9m and an after-tax payback period of 1.2 years.
Crucially, there remains significant scope to further improve returns with staged expansions as the current mine plan is based on circa 25% of the total resource.
Nick Johansen has been appointed Chairman of Armadale. Having been a non-executive director since October 2016 Nick has a sound understanding of the Company and brings to the role extensive mining experience, with expertise in commercial and corporate law. Nick is currently the non-executive chairman of two ASX listed companies, being Paterson Resources Limited and Orcoda Limited.
The Company is looking to further strengthen its management team and is in advanced discussions with a candidate with high-profile Tanzanian expertise to join the board as a non-executive director. Further updates will be made in due course.
The information communicated in this announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) No. 596/2014.
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