Multi-commodity developer Savannah Resources (AIM:SAV) said on Monday that its subsidiary in Mozambique had secured a mining licence for the Mutamba heavy minerals sands project from the country’s government.
The London-based company, which operates the Mutamba project in a joint venture with Rio Tinto (ASX, LON, NYSE: RIO), said the permit was the first of three contiguous concessions to be issued, which will result in the full tenement permitting of Mutamba.
The licence covers 11,948 hectares and is valid to April 2044, with the possibility of an additional 25-year extension.
Savannah currently holds a 20% interest in the project, through Matilda Minerals, but can increase its stake to 35% upon delivery of a pre-feasibility study and ultimately to 51% upon delivery of a feasibility study.
The project contains an indicated and inferred mineral resource of 4.4 billion tonnes, grading 3.9% total heavy minerals.
The news comes as the company gears up to start commercial lithium production in northern Portugal in 2021.
Mina do Barroso, arguably one of the most 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.