Evolution cements foundation graphite offtake

AFTER seven years of working together, and just seven days after signing a memorandum of understanding, Evolution Energy Minerals and Chinese firm Yichang Xincheng Graphite have inked a binding offtake deal.
Evolution cements foundation graphite offtake Evolution cements foundation graphite offtake Evolution cements foundation graphite offtake Evolution cements foundation graphite offtake Evolution cements foundation graphite offtake

Chilalo is an advanced graphite play

Haydn Black


As with last week's MoU, the final agreement covers the sale of 30,000 tonnes per annum of material from Evolution's shovel-ready, A$87 million Chilalo graphite project in Tanzania for at least three years.
That represents around 56% of planned production and over 70% of expected concentrate revenue for the initial term of the agreement. 
Evolution's team, which has worked with YXGC since 2015, described the privately-owned firm as its "logical offtake partner".
Graphite from Chilalo has already been qualified by YXGC, and found suitable for the production of graphite foils, fire retardants and other high-value products such as bi-polar plates used in green hydrogen batteries.
Evolution managing director Phil Hoskins said locking in a substantial offtake partner was "the culmination of a significant amount of work" over the years, and would help derisk Chilalo for financiers - a near term goal for the junior. 
The MoU included provision to expose Evolution to a European downstream operation to supply customers with expandable graphite, graphite foil and other high-value products, which is one of the key offtake conditions.
The agreement is also conditional on a biding toll treatment agreement, and Evolution securing finance and commencing construction of Chilalo by December 31.
Chilalo then needs to deliver its first graphite concentrate to YXGC by March 2024. 
Evolution is updating the 2020 definitive feasibility study that examined an 8.9 million tonne per annum operation producing 50,000tpa of graphite concentrate, with 12,000tpa of expandable graphite and 8000tpa of micronised graphite.
It is also looking to secure a sales agreement for its fines products before it appoint project finance advisors.
A critical step is to sign a framework agreement with Tanzania's government.
Evolution was spun-out of Marvel Gold last November, raising $22 million at 20c via an oversubscribed initial public offer to drive forward the legacy graphite project some five years after momentum was lost due to changes to Tanzania's mining code, when Marvel was known at Graphex Mining.
Evolution's framework agreement is expected to be similar to that signed late last year by Black Rock Mining.
Black Rock aims to commence construction of its $116 million Mahenge stage one project next quarter, pending debt finance.
Evolution has around $7.5 million in remaining cash after paying off legacy debts.
The junior's shares, which have traded between 38-70c since listing, were 50c at Friday's close, valuing it at $85 million.