Base still committed to Madagascar mineral sands project

1st September 2021 By: Esmarie Iannucci - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

PERTH ( – Mineral sands miner Base Resources told delegates at Paydirt’s Africa Downunder conference, in Perth, that the company was still committed to the development of the Toliara project, in Madagascar.

Base in 2020 announced plans to delay a final investment decision (FID) on the Toliara project, after the Madagascar government in 2019 suspended activities at the project area as negotiations around the fiscal terms applicable to the proposed mine were initiated.

Base MD Tim Carstens said on Wednesday that the timing for the conclusion of these negotiations were still unclear, however, he noted that the company was making “good headway” in its negotiations with the Madagascar government.

In the meantime, Base is bringing forward an update to the definitive feasibility study for the Toliara project, which will be based on an expanded operation.

“It will be a bigger and extremely robust project,” Carstens said.

He noted that once the fiscal terms of the Toliara project had been secured, the company would take around 11 months to make an FID on the project, with a further 26-month construction period required before first production.

“So on the assumption that the suspension is lifted by the end of January, we will undertake an FID by the end of 2022, which will mean we will be in production by mid-2025. That is the sort of timeframe, and we are still completely committed to the project, we just need to be patient,” Carstens said.

Previous feasibility work on Toliara estimated that the Stage 1 project would cost $442-million to establish a 13-million-tonne-a-year processing operation.

The Stage 2 operation will see the operation increase to 19-million tonnes a year, at an additional cost of $69-million.

Over the initial 33-year mine life, the Toliara operation is expected to produce an average of 780 000 t/y of ilmenite, 53 000 t/y of zircon and a further 7 000 t/y of rutile, generating annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of $164.3-million.