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Lemur Holdings, a subsidiary of Bushveld Minerals, has been awarded a 30-year concession agreement by the Government of Madagascar, a milestone for the Imaloto coal-fired independent power project (IPP) in south-west Madagascar.

The Concession gives the IPP the right to build, own, operate and supply an initial 60MW in Imaloto, located in the Toliara Province.

In addition, the Concession, gives Lemur the right to build an evacuation Line of up to 138kV for the transport of the electricity to the connection points.

As one of the primary offtakers, JIRAMA would be able to resell the electricity to residential and large-scale electricity consumers during the specified period, based on the existing PPA which has been increased from 10MW to 25MW, the UK-listed firm said in a statement. 

Bushveld Minerals CEO Fortune Mojapelo said: "Notwithstanding Bushveld Minerals' focus on its flagship vanadium platform, the Company is committed to deliver on the value of the Imaloto Power Project by completing the milestones that were set out for this year in order to supply affordable, high quality baseload energy in southwest Madagascar.

"The granting of the Concession Agreement during the quarter is a critical milestone for the project, aligning its development with the national government's broader plans."

He added that the draft of the bankable feasibility study has been submitted by their technical partner, Sinohydro and is currently under review.

"Once finalised, the study will provide a more precise picture of the project's cost and timeline for our ongoing discussion with lenders," he said.

Prince Nyati, CEO of Lemur Holdings Limited, commented: "We are pleased that majority of the key elements required to progress the project to the next development phase are in place, in order to supply energy to residential as well as existing and near-term, large power intensive consumers that have not been able to expand or commence operations.

"In addition to progressing the SEIA study and finalising the BFS with Sinohydro, our efforts for the second half of 2018 will focus on advancing project funding and EPC discussions."

Nyati added: "Power from the Imaloto Power Project is a viable alternative to existing expensive diesel generation in the region as it will be based on locally produced low-cost exportable coal, combined with clean coal technology that will in turn create demand for abundant unexploited reserves of limestone from the Toliara region.

"The baseload energy generated by Imaloto is expected to significantly change the economics of mining projects, in the southwest of Madagascar, that were previously deemed as unfeasible."