ASX-listed Avenira has commenced work to significantly expand production at its African-based Baobab phosphate project in Senegal.
Avenira MD and CEO, Louis Calvarin, says the company is currently selling product on a small scale from Baobab.
“However, we are on track with plans to significantly expand the project to produce 1 Mtpa of high-grade phosphate rock product concentrate,” Calvarin says.
“One of the key milestones in the lead-up to that expansion will be the receipt of a revised Exploitation Permit which we are confident will be granted within the very near future.”
Calvarin says a feasibility study and other government key approvals for the expansion are well advanced.
Avenira will take advantage of existing site infrastructure to develop the large mineral resource base at Baobab.
The expansion studies have focused on the replacement of the project’s existing circuit with industry standard flotation, magnetic separation and drying processes.
The enhanced recoveries provided by the circuit upgrade will lead to improved quality and reduce operating costs in the production of a high-grade (35%+ P2O5) premium product.
The Baobab project is 80% owned by Avenira with the remaining 20% owned by Senegal’s largest private employer and experienced agriculture industry participant, the Mimran Group.
Calvarin says Avenira has the benefit of supportive government, social and community groups and had built a proven history of operating in Senegal.
The company has also established strong relations with regional and international phosphate rock customers
Calvarin says phosphate rock is an important ingredient for essentially all phosphate products.
It provides 90% of global demand for use in fertilisers and with global food demand predicted to double by 2050, the market outlook remained strong.
He states Africa is emerging as a major player in the fertiliser market with a large, established industry in North and West Africa, and its product much sought after in Europe, India and America.
“Africa is the fastest growing fertiliser market and this provides a significant growth opportunity for Avenira,” he maintains.