Tanzania has signed agreements worth a total of $667m with three Australian companies for the development of rare earth minerals and graphite projects, reported Reuters.

Signed with Evolution Energy Minerals, Ecograf and Peak Rare Earths, the agreements form part of Tanzania’s efforts to advance negotiations on long-delayed mining and energy projects.

Under the deals, the country will have a 16% stake in each of the jointly established companies to operate the rare earth and graphite projects, reported Reuters, citing Palamagamba Kabudi, the chairman of the Tanzanian Government’s negotiating team.

Evolution Energy Minerals has signed agreements related to the arrangements regarding the ownership and development of its Chilalo Graphite Project.

Evolution managing director Phil Hoskins said: “Completion of the agreements is a key milestone as we continue to progress towards the development of our Chilalo project.

“Financiers require certainty on the operation of the Tanzanian government’s free-carried interest and the completion of these agreements provides the certainty to support further investment from Evolution and debt and equity financiers.”

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EcoGraf has signed an agreement with the Tanzanian government for the development and operation of the Epanko Graphite Project.

According to the deal, the new Duma TanzGraphite joint venture has been incorporated to develop and operate the Epanko project.

EcoGraf holds an 84% stake in Duma TanzGraphite while the government owns a 16% free-carried interest.

Peak Rare Earths has signed a binding framework agreement with the government for the development of the Ngualla Rare Earth Project.

Peak executive chair Russell Scrimshaw said: “Development of the Ngualla Project will deliver direct foreign investment of more than $320m into the Tanzanian economy, generate hundreds of direct and thousands of indirect jobs for Tanzanians and position Tanzania as one of the major rare earth producers outside of China.”