Marula’s Blesberg to deliver first shipment of lithium RoM in December

25th November 2022

By: Darren Parker

Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online


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AQSE-listed mining and development company Marula Mining has made significant progress towards the delivery of the first shipment of high-grade run-of-mine (RoM) lithium ore at its Blesberg lithium and tantalum mine in the Northern Cape.

The first shipment, which is expected in December, falls under a $5-million lithium prepayment facility to a South African subsidiary of global commodity group Traxys.

In addition, the company has elected to increase its shareholding in the Blesberg mine from 5% to 100%.

Marula executed formal share sale and subscription agreements and associated acquisition documentation, under which the company’s wholly-owned South African subsidiary Marula Lithium Mining South Africa (MLMSA), will conditionally acquire the outstanding 95% of the share capital of Southern African Lithium and Tantalum Mining (SALT), the holder of the licences that make up the Blesberg mine.

Under the terms of the acquisition agreement, Marula has agreed to increase its shareholding in Blesberg from 5% to 100% in SALT for $1.7-million in cash. The company confirms that it has paid this amount using $1.7-million of the first $2.5-million tranche of the $5-million lithium prepayment facility, which Marula announced on October 27 with Southern Jade Resources, a subsidiary of Traxys.

Meanwhile, Marula CEO Jason Brewer and Hendrik Adriaan van Zyl have been appointed as SALT directors.

“It is also great to see Marula’s shareholders support and approval in steering this transaction forward . . . approving the expanded strategy that now allows us to hold majority and 100% interest in projects such as Blesberg,” Brewer said.

He added that the recently announced $5-million prepayment funding was a positive reaffirmation of Blesberg, and that the first tranche of funds had now been used to complete the acquisition. Moreover, balances have allowed contractors to accelerate with the next phase of work as the company moves closer to producing a saleable lithium spodumene product. 

“There is no better time to have Blesberg move ahead in operations than during a time of strong lithium demand in various sectors and also at a time when we continue to strengthen our battery metals investing strategy by securing and exploring more battery metals commodities in Africa,” Brewer said.

At Blesberg, all mobile mining equipment is now on site and operational, along with the majority of processing plant equipment, which is also operational. Various support equipment is currently being commissioned as well.

Detailed stockpile processing plans have been completed and mine layout optimisation is being finalised, while stockpiles from historical tantalum mining operations are being crushed and screened through mobile processing equipment and deposited in new RoM stockpiles.

The processing of the historical stockpiles is part of the company’s site rehabilitation programme and is required as part of the longer term hard-rock planned mining activities. Rehabilitation provision with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has been increased, with additional funds deposited by Marula to accommodate the processing of the stockpiles and ongoing rehabilitation activities.

Sorting and processing of these stockpiles has now started.

Additionally, the upgrade of all key site infrastructure is advanced, including site accommodation and associated infrastructure, while haul roads have been upgraded and secure fencing installed.

Water supply for the processing of the stockpiles has been secured and a temporary power generating unit installed. Moreover, central stores and workshops are being established in the nearby town of Steinkopf.

More than 30 new employees have been recruited from the local Steinkopf community and are undergoing site health and safety and other induction processes.

The implementation of Marula’s environment, social and governance initiatives is also underway on site and in the surrounding communities, with the recruitment of additional mine, processing and administrative staff under way.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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