Multi-commodity developer Savannah Resources (AIM:SAV) has received the third and final permit for the Mutamba heavy minerals sands project, being developed in partnership with Rio Tinto (ASX, LON, NYSE: RIO).
The licence, valid to Sept. 2044, with the possibility of an additional 25-year extension, completes the London-based company’s full tenement permitting of Mutamba, which will allow it to focus on progressing a pre-feasibility study (PFS).
“The process has been rigorous and demanding, but we have now achieved one of the most important milestones in the orderly progression towards mine development,” Savannah chief executive, David Archer, said in the statement.
Once the PFS is completed, Savannah Resources will increase its interest in the asset from 20% to 35% and ultimately to 51% upon delivery of a feasibility study.
Mutamba contains an indicated and inferred mineral resource of 4.4 billion tonnes, grading 3.9% total heavy minerals. It’s located within close proximity to the infrastructure at the Port of Inhambane, with reliable power supply.
Savannah expects to begin production this year, at an initial rate of 456,000 tonnes of ilmenite and 118,000 tonnes of non-magnetic concentrate.
The company is also gearing up to start commercial lithium production in northern Portugal in 2021.
Mina do Barroso, one of the more advanced lithium mining concessions in Europe, is expected to become the continent’s first significant producer of spodumene, a hard-rock form of lithium.
Savannah, which acquired a majority stake in the project in May 2017, has maintained a fast paced development approach since.