PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The share price of graphite hopeful EcoGraf soared by nearly 17% on Tuesday, as the company expressed hope that gold miner Barrick Gold’s resolution of a dispute with the Tanzanian government would pave the way for the financing and development of the Epanko graphite project.
Barrick recently signed a landmark settlement agreement with the Tanzanian government guaranteeing the gold miner full government support, and ordered the release of Barrick’s concentrate containers, which have been held at the Port of Dar es Salaam since March 2017.
Barrick for its part has said that it would invest $50-million in exploration in Tanzania during 2020, seeking opportunities to sustain and expand its operations within the country.
The deadlock has delayed the development of EcoGraf’s Epanko project by two-and-a-half years, with the Australia firm working with KfW IPEX-Bank and the Tanzanian government on the resolution of the legislative issues that have been impacting international financing of minerals projects in the country.
EcoGraf said that positive progress has been achieved in recent weeks to revise the proposed financing structure for the Epanko mine, and to fast-track the entire debt financing.
A $60-million senior debt funding proposal is currently being prepared under the revised structure and, subject to securing the agreement of all parties, the completion of necessary approvals and loan agreements, is now expected to be accelerated by the settlement with Barrick.
A bankable feasibility study estimated that the Epanko project would require a capital investment of $88.9-million, to produce 60 000 t/y of graphite.