Canada-based South Star Mining has secured a key approval for the Santa Cruz Graphite Project located in Southern Bahia, Brazil.

The company received a three year trial mining licence for the Phase 1 Pilot Plant Operations (5,000 tpy of concentrate) for the project.

The approval will enable South Star Mining to advance with the Phase 1 construction, commissioning and operations. The Canadian firm has already secured a four year extension of the environmental licence for Phase 1 in October last year.

South Star CEO Richard Pearce said: “We are extremely excited about the approval of the final permitting hurdle for the Phase 1 operations of the Project, and we continue the drive towards 2021 production.

“We are now in a position to advance towards construction, and the battery metals market appears to be further improving with increasing demand for high-quality concentrate worldwide.

“South Star can become a provider of high-quality, large-flake Brazilian graphite concentrate for many years ahead.”

Now, the company will focus on arranging an off-take agreement and securing necessary funding for the construction works.

Pearce added: “The final design package for construction along with selection of the firm responsible for the Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management (EPCM) is estimated to be finalised in March of 2021.”

The Santa Cruz Graphite Project has at-surface mineralisation in friable materials. The results of a large-scale pilot plant testing of the project shows nearly 65% of Cg concentrate is +80 mesh with good recoveries and 95-99% Cg.