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Volt Moves Forward on Bunyu Graphite with Mining Licenses

Volt Resources has received two necessary mining licenses from local officials to develop its Bunyu graphite project in Tanzania.

Volt Resources (ASX:VRC) has officially received one of the last green lights needed to proceed with developing stages 1 and 2 of its Bunyu graphite project in Tanzania.

The company was granted two mining licenses by the Mining Commission of the Ministry of Minerals of Tanzania, which cover the project’s two respective development stages. The licenses were provided on the conditions that Volt pay US$1,000 in preparation fees per license, accept the application’s boundaries and coordinates and accept the proposed licenses.

Since late July, Bunyu has seen the completion of its stage 1 feasibility study and the finalization of all required environmental approvals. The company is now waiting on the completion of the US$40-million note issue, for which Volt has submitted an updated prospectus and accompanying documentation to the Tanzanian Capital Markets and Securities Authority.

Once the necessary steps are completed, including approval by the Volt board, company subsidiary Volt Graphite Tanzania (VGT) will begin front end engineering and design work for stage 1’s initial operations, along with ordering long-lead time components. As stage 1 development takes place, VGT will be conducting the definitive feasibility study for Bunyu’s stage 2 expansion.

“This is a key milestone for Volt and our shareholders, as we have now effectively received all required primary development approvals in relation to our planned stage 1 and 2 developments at the Bunyu graphite project in Tanzania,” Volt chairman Asimwe Kabunga said in a statement.

“Volt has maintained a very transparent and positive dialogue with the Tanzanian authorities throughout the entire approvals process, and I would like to thank the relevant authorities for their support and input towards achieving these key approvals.”

Bunyu’s stage 1 development is based on a mining and processing plant annual throughput rate of 400,000 tonnes of ore to produce an average 23,700 tonnes per annum (tpa) of graphite products. One of the key objectives behind stage 1’s development is to establish infrastructure and market position to prepare for the much larger stage 2 expansion project.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Olivia Da Silva, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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Analysts have been bullish on gold for the better part of the past decade, but now it's silver's time to shine. While the price of silver tends to rise and fall alongside that of gold, silver's valuation is generally more volatile — slower to move in either direction, but more prone to abrupt spikes and plunges.

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A look at Australia and silver mining

When you think of mining in Australia, you may not think of silver, especially since the country is a top global producer of several other metals, including gold and iron ore. Nevertheless, silver is on the rise in Australia, with new silver mines opening, production potential booming and the precious metal's valuation reaching new heights.

This may be surprising news, especially since 2020 was an erratic year for silver. Global silver-mining production plunged by 5.9 percent in 2020 — its biggest drop in over 10 years —⁠ following four years of steady decline.

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This production downturn was the result of COVID-19 restrictions that forced mines to suspend operations temporarily. Silver mine closures hit certain places harder than others, with extended closures in top silver-producing countries such as Peru, Mexico, Argentina and Bolivia causing major production drops.

Australia, however, was an exception to this rule, with production increasing by 3 percent. The reason for Australia's success is that it remained relatively untouched by COVID-19 restrictions. While other countries were forced to shut down production facilities, Australia was able to avoid these closures, continuing — and even upgrading — regular operations.

Australia is now the fifth largest silver producer globally, with an annual output of 43.8 million ounces in 2020. While the output of silver-mining giants such as Mexico and Peru (178.1 million and 109.7 million ounces produced in 2020, respectively) continues to far exceed that of Australia, global demand for silver is on the rise, hitting 900 million ounces annually and making room for a new silver-mining powerhouse.

What should investors know about silver investing in Australia?

Silver remains a relatively untapped resource in Australia, which means that investors have plenty of major mining companies to choose from.

Australia's largest mine is the Cannington mine owned by South32 (ASX:S32,OTC Pink:SHTLF). It is ranked as the ninth largest silver-producing mine worldwide, with 11.6 million ounces produced in 2020.

The country's second biggest silver-producing mine is the Mount Isa zinc mine. It is owned by Mount Isa Mines, a subsidiary of Glencore (LSE:GLEN,OTC Pink:GLCNF), and produced around 5.8 million ounces of silver in 2020. The Tritton copper mine, owned by Aeris Resources (ASX:AIS,OTC Pink:ARSRF), followed closely behind with nearly 4.5 million ounces produced in the same year.

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Investing in silver in Australia

There are many ways to invest in silver, including physical silver, stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, options and futures. Choosing which investment route to take is all about balancing risk and reward.

Investing in physical silver is the most straightforward option: you simply buy a tangible piece of the precious metal in the form of bullion, official coins or medallions. Bullion is a bar or 1 ounce coin of solid silver with at least 99.9 percent purity. Official silver coins are currency produced by a government mint, while silver medallions resemble coins, but lack monetary value, .

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ETFs offer investors the best of both worlds. ETFs are a basket of varied equities, including physical metals and shares in mining companies. Much like individual stocks, they are liable to rise or fall in price according to the market, though they tend to be less risky than stocks.

In 2020, ETF investments were at an all-time-high, though Australia only has one silver ETF that includes the physical precious metal. Stocks are a much more common means of investing in silver in Australia. The country boasts over a dozen silver-mining companies, including South32 and Silver Mines, as well as Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM,TSX:NCM,OTC Pink:NCMGF), Golden Deeps (ASX:GED) and Investigator Resources (ASX:IVR).

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time news updates.

Securities Disclosure: I, Isabel Armiento, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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