TSX-V-listed South Star Mining has completed and formally submitted the environmental permitting documents to the responsible permitting consortium for the construction and operation of a 5 000 t/y pilot plant facility at its Santa Cruz graphite project, in Brazil.
The company will also be submitting the trial mining licensing documents to the National Mining Agency, South Star president and CEO Richard Pearce said on Monday.
The pilot plant operations will provide short-term cash flow from operations and allow the Canadian miner to qualify bulk samples in the marketplace and establish future, firm offtake agreements.
Pearce noted that the company has continued to “work diligently” to develop commercial relationships with key players, both in Brazil and internationally, and said that the company has received “excellent feedback” on its shipping samples to date.
“We will monitor closely the permitting process and will be using the first half of 2020 to get the financing in place to construct and commission the pilot plant facilities,” he commented.
Construction is expected to take between eight and ten months.
The goal of the pilot plant operations is to prove the economic and technical viability of the project at a small scale, while also allowing the company to produce and qualify large scale samples in the marketplace.
The pilot plant will allow the company to test and optimise the flowsheet, develop the key commercial relationships and optimise the production of products demanded in the marketplace, given the inherent, high-quality nature of the concentrates produced to date.
The 5 000 t/y concentrate pilot plant is Phase 1 of the proposed path to production and includes a small-pit pilot processing plant, as well as filtered tails technology, waste storage facility for co-disposal of wasterock and filtered tails, and civil infrastructure.
The experience gained and commercial relationships established from Phase 1 operations will then be used to scale up the operations as part of the Phase 2 expansion plan.
The Phase 2 production facility will be similar in layout and process technology but will be able to produce 25 000 t/y of high-quality concentrate.
The upcoming prefeasibility study (PFS) results, expected in January of 2020, will present the detailed design of the Phase 1 facilities along with the PFS level design for the Phase 2 facilities and the maiden reserve estimate, the company confirmed.