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Marula progressing sales agreements for Blesberg by-products

12th April 2024

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Senior Contributing Editor Online

     

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Africa-focused mining and development company Marula Mining is now progressing sales agreements with Fujax UK and a number of other parties in South Africa for the sale of the by-product minerals produced at its Blesberg lithium and tantalum mine in South Africa’s Northern Cape.

These will be extracted through the company’s existing processing and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) sorting equipment.

Marula is also planning to expand the processing plant in the second quarter.

This follows an announcement on March 19 by the company that its wholly owned South African subsidiary South African Lithium and Tantalum Mining (SALT) has signed a long-term offtake agreement with UK-based global metals, minerals and energy commodities trading group Fujax for 100% of the lithium-bearing ore and concentrate production from Blesberg.

Deliveries to Fujax under the agreement are scheduled to begin next month and continue through to December 31, 2026, with an option to extend deliveries by a further three years thereafter.

Processing operations at Blesberg, which include the Rados XRF particle sorter that is already in operation and the Tomra XRT sorter that will now be installed and commissioned this quarter, allow for the recovery of the lithium-bearing ores, as well as the separate recovery of the coltan, feldspar and other by-product minerals.

The company is seeking to maximise the economics at Blesberg by entering into additional sales agreements for these by-product minerals.

The sampling programme of these minerals has recently been completed and analysis is ongoing.

One hundred and fifty kilograms of coltan mineralisation from stockpiles at Blesberg have now been submitted for independent testing and analysis.

The assay results from this testwork will be used to verify both the tantalum and niobium grades and the results will be incorporated into key commercial terms of the proposed sales agreement with local and international offtake groups including Fujax.

Representatives on site from Fujax this week, will also take samples of the coltan for analysis in the UK, ahead of a proposed initial sale of 2 t.

Also, 20.64 kg of feldspar has been sent for mineralogy analysis.

The results are to be included with previous historic testwork, which has already confirmed that its technical specifications meet the requirements of local buyers of feldspar for the ceramics and glass industry.

The sample results for the coltan and feldspar, which will include grade, mineralogy and quality analyses, are expected to be received in the second quarter.

The company is anticipating sales agreements to be concluded and first sales and revenue to be received from the sale of these by-product minerals late in the second quarter.

“Blesberg has such a valuable assortment of minerals that extend beyond just the lithium-bearing ores.

“We know that Blesberg was one of the major producers in South Africa of tantalum and we believe there is an opportunity, through the sale of the coltan mineralisation that has been identified at the mine, to materially enhance the project economics by concluding a standalone offtake agreement for this by-product of the lithium mining activities,” says Marula Mining Southern Africa GM Henk van Zyl.

“In addition to the completed sampling programme, we are also awaiting assay and metallurgical results on the feldspar mineralisation that is present at Blesberg.

“Historically there have been sales of this material from Blesberg into the local South African market and sales of these minerals continue from other operations in the Northern Cape,” he adds.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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