South Star Mining plans to commission the Santa Cruz graphite mine’s Phase 1 plant in Brazil in the coming weeks.

The construction of the 1,000t per month capacity plant is due to conclude this month, initiating an estimated six-week commissioning and ramp-up period.

Additionally, the company secured a Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) approved definitive mining licence for five areas totalling 4,431 hectares for South Star’s Santa Cruz Mine. Three additional claims are in the final stages of evaluation.

These licences are crucial for the mining operations planned in Phases 1, 2 and 3.

South Star Mining said the Santa Cruz mine is poised to become the first new graphite production facility in the Americas since 1996.

The project’s Phase 1 commercial production is anticipated to begin in the third quarter of this year.

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Subsequent expansions – Phase 2, with an annual production capacity of 25,000 tonnes per annum (tpa), and Phase 3, aiming for 50,000tpa – are scheduled for 2026 and 2028, respectively.

Phase 2 has already secured partial funding.

South Star CEO Richard Pearce said: “The company now owns the land where our Phase 1 installations and operations are located, and the purchase further strengthens our balance sheet.

“With the approval of the definitive mining licences, Phases 2 and 3 of Santa Cruz are now derisked from a permitting and licensing standpoint, and we have a clear path to scaling production as the markets and our clients ask for additional high-quality Brazilian graphite concentrates.

“Our agreement with Sprott already secures approximately 50% of our Phase 2 capex, and our team is pushing to complete an updated feasibility study on Santa Cruz incorporating Phase 3 production.”