Walkabout Resources has commenced construction prestart activities at its Lindi Jumbo Graphite Mine in Tanzania, in order to bring into production what is scheduled to be the one of the highest margin graphite projects in the world.
Securing a US$20 million debt funding facility from CRDB Bank of Tanzania for the high-grade, large flake graphite project in April 2021 was a critical milestone in the company’s advancement to construction, as was the company completing the first stage of its companion equity contribution in May 2021.
The second tranche of a three stage development capital raise is currently underway with shareholders to be invited to participate in a Rights Issue on the same terms as the Institutional Placement to raise up to A$7.6 million and which closes on Monday 25 June (refer ASX announcement 12 May 2021). Alternatives for the final and third tranche are currently being assessed by the Board with an announcement expected before the end of the quarter.
Commenting on the imminent commencement of construction, Allan Mulligan – Chief Operating Officer of Walkabout Resources said, “The Lindi Jumbo Mine is rapidly materialising and on track for first production in the second quarter of 2022. At Walkabout, we have always done what we said we would do, and it has been very rewarding finalising planning and project logistics this week. Our focus in stage 1 and 2 construction are on those items on the critical path including the civils required for plant erection and the continued manufacture and shipping of plant equipment from our EPC contractor in China.
The CRDB debt facility provided a critical platform from which to commence raising the companion equity. Our second tranche capital raising is underway in tandem with price tensions in the large flake graphite market and as we mobilise contractors under stage 1. As such, we are expecting a very positive response from shareholders.”
At completion of the third tranche equity raising, Walkabout will be fully funded to production with construction and commissioning expected to take 9-12 months. Such a short time to production gives Walkabout an early mover advantage.
“What sets Lindi Jumbo apart from most other graphite deposits is its very high percentage of Large, Jumbo and Super Jumbo sized flakes in concentrate, positioning us to capture premium priced and value added industrial markets. With large flake graphite prices increasing by more than 2% in April and demand from the lithium-ion battery industry expected to outstrip supply by 2025, Roskill has predicted prices will continue to rise,” concluded Mulligan.
The Lindi Jumbo project economics are spectacular with an after tax internal rate of return of 119% and a steady state EBITDA of US$42-46 million.
Lindi Jumbo represents the first serious construction effort of a mining project in Tanzania since the 2017 Mining Act amendments. Since April this year, new President Samia Suluhu Hassan has seen Tanzania renew discussions with international resource companies to expedite large projects, tackle coronavirus with a new advisory committee and also reinvigorate international relations to promote investments and drive trade. This can only benefit Lindi Jumbo as Tanzania revitalises its approach to attracting international businesses.