Rafaella has an offtake agreement from leading German tungsten refiner H.C. Starck and an associated offer of 100% project debt financing from the German government, subject to completion of a positive feasibility study including a mineral reserve of at least 7kt contained WO3.
As with a number of western tungsten projects under development, Santa Comba is a past-producing mine that closed during the 1980s as a result of the fall in tungsten prices during the period that China emerged as a new commodities powerhouse.
In 2012, Mineiro Santa Comba Group acquired the mining rights and commenced construction of a new processing plant, which was estimated to be 70% complete when the firm went into administration. GTT acquired the Santa Comba assets in May 2015.
The backing of H.C. Starck and the German government is a boon for Santa Comba, with a number of other projects under development still requiring offtake and financing agreements. Rafaella will now begin the all-important work to upgrade the inferred resource and carry out a feasibility study, a precursor to accessing the financing.
Roskill’s Tungsten: Market Outlook to 2028 report was published in March 2019. The first quarterly update for subscribers will be published this month.