South Star Mining Corp. [STS-TSXV; STSBF-OTCQB] reported receiving approval for a trial mining licence for a period of three years for the Phase 1 pilot plant operations (5,000 tonnes per year of concentrate) for the 100%-owned Santa Cruz graphite project in Bahia, Brazil.
As announced on October 5, 2020, the environmental licence for Phase 1 was renewed for four years in October 2020. With the approval of the mining licence, the project is now fully licensed and can proceed to Phase 1 construction, commissioning and operations.
The company is advancing with conversations regarding project financing, and as previously announced in October 2020, the Brazilian Development Bank (BNB) has preapproved $7.5-million of debt financing. BNB is currently reviewing the technical documents and advancing with the project credit analysis.
South Star CEO Richard Pearce commented: â€œWe are extremely excited about the approval of the final permitting hurdle for the Phase 1 operations of the project, and we continue the drive towards 2021 production. We are now in a position to advance towards construction, and the battery metals market appears to be further improving with increasing demand for high-quality concentrate worldwide. South Star can become a provider of high-quality, large-flake Brazilian graphite concentrate for many years ahead.
â€œWith the phase 1 permitting requirements behind us, our next goals will be to focus on arranging an offtake agreement and securing the financing package for the project construction. The final design package for construction along with selection of the firm responsible for the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) is estimated to be finalized in March of 2021. I would like to thank our current shareholders and all the project stakeholders for their continued support and look forward to an exciting 2021.â€