Kibaran Resources has started an environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) for its Epanko graphite project in Tanzania following the signing of a binding offtake agreement in December 2013.
The company said the ESIA process is critical for it to receive its environmental certificate from the National Environmental Management Council that is in turn a key prerequisite to secure a mining licence for the project.
Kibaran noted that all three are the longest lead items in the approvals and permitting process for developing the project and whole process is anticipated to take about 16 to 18 months to complete.
Kibaran Resources executive director Andrew Spinks said: "This is the first of many positive steps towards project development following the major milestone of a binding offtake agreement for graphite sales."
Kibaran signed a binding offtake agreement with a Tanzanian environmental consultancy, which has agreed to purchase 10,000t of flake graphite concentrate per year.
The agreement will for an initial period of five years with the option to renew for a further five years, on a market based pricing mechanism.
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Kibaran said its primary focus is on its 100%-owned Epanko deposit, located within the Mahenge Graphite Project.
Epanko currently has an inferred mineral resource estimate of 14.9mt, grading 10.5% TGC, for 1.56mt of contained graphite, defined in accordance with the JORC Code.
The initial estimate covers only 20% of the project area and metallurgy has found Epanko graphite to be large flake and expandable in nature.