Black Rock Shakes Off Tanzania’s Asset Grab

By Barry Fitzgerald | More Articles by Barry Fitzgerald

Being the young son of an usherette at Melbourne’s grand Regent theatre in the late 1960s meant free access to the films on show over the summer months.

Sounds deluxe but no one should have to sit through 100 showings of the whimsical musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang under the watchful eye of a torch carrying mother.

It should be no surprise then that the songs have stuck in the memory. One of them in particular has had a lasting impact, The Roses of Success.

The hook line is: “Up from the ashes, up from the ashes, grow the roses of success.’’

Strange how the mind works but the hook line was (again) being hummed during the week while digesting Black Rock Mining’s (ASX:BKT) optimised preliminary feasibility study for its Mahenge graphite project in Tanzania.

Black Rock chief executive and 30-year mining engineer veteran John de Vries sums up the findings succinctly, saying that he believes that Mahenge is the best undeveloped graphite project on the planet.

The figures from the optimised PFS (a two-stage development is now a three-stage proposal) do point to a project that has been sized to be highly investable yet small enough to be fundable.

“We continue to be highly confident we have the most compelling development stage graphite project globally and intend to quickly move into our DFS phase to ensure construction risks are minimised,’’ de Vries said.

Pre-production capex remains at $US90m for 250,000 tonnes of annual production from year five at lowest quartile FOB costs of $US378 a tonne, yielding upper quartile margins of $US863 a tonne based on a “credible’’ price deck, and an NPV of $US905m.

Interesting stuff for a company trading at 5.2c for a market cap of $19m. So what has that got to do with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?

It’s all to do with Mahenge’s location. Tanzania trashed its reputation as a fiscally stable location for foreign mining investment earlier this year when it said it would be cranking up royalties from 3.3% to 4.3% and lifting the state’s free-carried interest from 10% to 16%.

Plus, Nzuri Copper gets hot and sweaty in the Congo as it prepares to release feasibility study on its high-grade, low-cost copper-cobalt project. Read more +.

Barry Fitzgerald

About Barry Fitzgerald

Barry Fitzgerald has covered the resources industry for 30 years. His column highlights the issues, opportunities and challenges for small and mid-cap resources stocks - most recently penned his column for The Australian newspaper and before that, The Age.

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