Li-Ion is finalising a mine development plan for the past-producing project with the support of the environmental consultancy ECG Auguste, which will involve community and stakeholder meetings, and coordination and liaison with the Office National pour l'Environnement - Madagascar and local land users.
"LI-Ion's deposits are associated with topographic highs that are exploited via cost-effective free-dig and openpit methods," said the company.
The company has secured three 40-year renewable mining exploitation licences for Ambato-Arana covering 4,375 hectares. Graphite was produced continually on the licenses, at a modest rate constrained by the technology employed on the licenses, for roughly a century from 1910.
"The deposits [are] only partially mined and now ready for larger-scale exploitation with modern production techniques," said Li-Ion.
Madagascar ended its State of Health Emergency on October 18, 2020. The country has so far had nearly 19,000 COVID-19 cases with 279 deaths.
Lion signed a memorandum of understanding in February 2019 with private Swiss company EMX to enter an offtake agreement, expected to cover 10,000 tonnes within the first three years of a definitive agreement and a further 10,000t within five years.
It also controls the Chedic graphite project in Nevada near Tesla's Gigafactory, the Neuron graphite project in Manitoba and has a stake in BEGO Technologies, which is working with Colorado State University to process graphite into graphene oxide.