Base Resources says Toliara progress stalled ahead of Madagascar elections

Baobabs in Madagascar

TITANIUM feedstock miner Base Resources said it didn’t expect to register progress on the development of its Toliara project in Madagascar until the African island nation concluded elections as well as a review of its minerals code.

Toiliara is a potentially transformative project for the Australian-listed miner. A 2019 feasibility study said production could total 13 million tons (Mt) annually in a $442m first phase. A $69m second phase would increase output to 13Mt a year.

But finalisation of a mining licence was stalled after the Malagasy government decided to revamp tax regulations.

Commenting in a June quarter update last week, Base Resources said it had “limited” contact with the government as it focused on the overhaul of the Malagasy Mining Code and amid preparations for upcoming presidential elections.

“Until the Mining Code reform is finalised, and the elections scheduled for late 2023 have concluded, the company does not expect to achieve material progress in securing fiscal terms or lifting of the project’s on-ground suspension,” it said.

There was better news for the life extension of Base’s operating mine Kwale, situated in East Africa’s Kenya. Exploration results confirmed the presence of heavy minerals. Three areas were identified for targeted exploration, it said.

Exploration of the Umba South exploration project in Tanzania was less successful, however. While the company confirmed mineralisation of rutile “a number of factors were identified limiting the project’s economic potential”. Further exploration was planned.