Capital Metals plc (AIM:CMET), a natural resources company focused on the development of the Eastern Minerals Project in Sri Lanka ("the Project"), one of the highest-grade mineral sands' projects globally, wishes to provide the following operational update.
· Environmental Impact Assessment ("EIA") process nearing completion with the holding of the meeting of the Technical Evaluation Committee ("TEC") now imminent following latest dialogue with the relevant Government Departments
· Covid-19 situation steadily improving in Sri Lanka which will ease ability to progress operations in country
· Management remains focused on final permitting steps and grant of Mining Licence with first production targeted for H1 2022
· Drill programme planned for Q3 2021 for infill and step out drilling
· Discussions with offtake partners commence
Environmental Impact Assessment
As announced on 26 March 2021, the Project's EIA report has received the initial approval of the Sri Lankan authorities and the completion of the public consultation period.
We are in the final stages of the EIA process and the Company has completed all the necessary workstreams. The relevant Government Departments are supportive and have advised the Company that they wish to convene a meeting required as part of the final review of the EIA as soon as possible. The Company is in close dialogue with the Government Departments and understand that the TEC will convene in July to review the EIA.
The Company has engaged the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau ("GSMB") in Sri Lanka to undertake a drilling program on its southern exploration licence EL199. The proposed drilling program is a combination of infill and resource extensions and aims to confirm previous drill work and test with extension and step out drilling. This will assist the Company to delineate the key areas for any mining licence applications over EL199.
It is anticipated that this drilling campaign will commence in Q3 2021.
Given the continued strength in mineral sands prices, the Company has commenced off take discussions following a number of approaches from strategic and industrial groups. The Covid-19 pandemic-fuelled surge in homebuilding and home improvements has contributed to healthy demand for mineral sands products such that mineral sands consumers are seeking additional security of supply.
Michael Frayne, CEO, commented:
"The Company is encouraged that progress is now being made on the EIA process, given strict lock down protocols in Sri Lanka. Indications are that Covid-19 conditions in Sri Lanka are improving and the Company expects to progress matters more rapidly in the forthcoming Q3. The anticipated conclusion of the EIA process and permitting, leading to the grant of a mining licence is a considerable milestone for the Company and we look forward to achieving this objective and adding value very quickly thereafter.
We are pleased to have generated considerable interest from strategic and industrial groups with regard to offtake discussions. We see this as an endorsement for the Eastern Minerals Project especially given the strong current and forecast prices in the mineral sands markets."