Australian based Avenira wants to expand production at the company’s Baobab phosphate project in Senegal.
Addressing the final day of the three-day Paydirt Africa Down Under (ADU) mining conference in Perth, Australia, last week, Avenira’s MD and CEO, Louis Calvarin, said that the company is on track with plans to expand the project to produce 1 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of high-grade phosphate rock product concentrate.
“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 said.
He added that 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 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 said Avenira has the benefit of supportive government, social and community groups and has built a proven history of operating in Senegal.
Phosphate rock is an important ingredient for almost all phosphate products as it provides 90% of global demand for use in fertilisers and, with global food demand predicted to double by 2050, the market outlook remains strong.
Calvarin told African Down Under delegates that 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 said.