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Walkabout Resources to begin earthworks at Tanzanian graphite project in early 2019

The company’s highest priority is securing funding for the world-class Lindi Jumbo large and jumbo flake graphite project.
Community meeting at Lindi Jumbo project
A community meeting on site to discuss RAP payments and site access

Walkabout Resources Ltd (ASX:WKT) is preparing for construction of its high-grade Lindi Jumbo Graphite Project in Tanzania with earthworks expected to start in early 2019.

The earthmoving contractor plans to mobilise to the site in early January after first payments have been made to the affected landowners to secure access to the initial work areas.

Preparing for partial mobilisation

This contractor is preparing for partial mobilisation of a fleet of earthmoving equipment.

Walkabout has selected and scheduled areas for preparation of this task to enable a seamless progression with the civil construction activities.

Lindi Jumbo is being developed to take advantage of forecast market conditions for large and jumbo flake graphite products.

The company holds 100% of a mining licence and between 100% and 70% of adjacent graphite prospecting licences at the project.

READ: Walkabout Resources completes SPP raising $3 million, resource update pending

Lindi Jumbo hosts a JORC 2012-compliant measured, indicated and inferred mineral resource of 29.8 million tonnes at an estimated grade of 10.9% total graphitic carbon (TGC).

This resource contains a super high-grade core of 4.7 million tonnes at 22.8% TGC for 1,076,500 tonnes of contained graphite, making it the highest mineable graphite resource in Tanzania.

READ: Walkabout Resources assays 300-metre graphite extension

A resource upgrade is progressing and is expected to be delivered in early December while a reserve update and amendment to the definitive feasibility study is expected to be delivered in early 2019.

Funding is highest priority

Walkabout’s highest current priority is project funding.

The company stipulates that pure debt funding is not an option due to the nature, location and size of the project.

Furthermore, the partial funding model pursued through Chinese state-owned enterprise CNBM now includes security terms that make it onerous and unattractive.

Therefore, Walkabout is pursuing an alternative funding strategy comprising a combination of corporate equity, which has recently been completed to strengthen the balance sheet, a level of quasi-debt, and interest at project equity level.

A sample gathered from the Lindi Jumbo project.

The executive management is engaged in detailed funding discussions with several parties in Australia, Europe and China, the details of which cannot be disclosed due to confidentiality and having not been finalised.

Encouraged by progress

Management is encouraged by progress and several interested parties have recently visited the site as part of due diligence processes and to familiarise themselves with the operational environment.

Walkabout executives have also been progressing further offtake discussions in China and Europe.

These discussions are being held with counterparties to Heads of Agreements along with potential new customers and industry participants.

Allan Mulligan and Andrew Cunningham at Jixi City Graphite Institute in Heilongjiang province, China.

Feedback from all parties visited has been positive and the extensive test work conducted on concentrate from the project has helped in marketing the project throughout Europe and Asia.

Civil plans being reassessed

Initial civil plans for the plant area have been reviewed and are being reassessed and designed through the company’s engineering partners in China, Yantai Jinpeng Mining and Machinery Co Ltd.

The objective of this work is to optimise concrete and steel input in line with international standards.

Lindi Jumbo’s project manager and metallurgical consultants are engaged with regular reviews of the flowsheet, equipment selection and associated infrastructure.

They are interacting closely with Jinpeng to ensure that any changes are finalised without compromising on the quality or standards of the plant.

Drilling and sampling team members on-site.

RAP sign-off is imminent

The project’s Relocation and Assistance Program (RAP) was completed by the government evaluators in October.

Consequently, Walkabout has finalised an internal audit to ensure values and measurements are correct and fair to all parties involved.

There are no significant inconsistencies with the calculations and final valuations are being socialised and discussed with affected individuals, government bodies and other stakeholders for final sign-off in December.

Walkabout has taken a very transparent approach throughout the process and relationships with the concerned parties have been excellent.

Final sign-off of the RAP document will allow the company to settle with some landowners and receive permanent access to certain areas of the site.

The company has six months from the date of government sign-off of the report to compensate landowners.

READ: Walkabout Resources’ sampling confirms lithium potential at Eureka project

Walkabout has also acquired an exploration portfolio for gold and base metals in Northern Ireland and is participating in the Tyrone Joint Venture where cobalt, copper and silver occurrences are being explored.

Walkabout has secured an exploration portfolio across a trend in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

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