Kibaran Resources has signed an agreement with ThyssenKrupp Metallurgical Products to sell half of the graphite produced at its Epanko project in Tanzania.

Under the deal, Kibaran will sell about 20,000 tons per year of graphite with a five-year extension option. Kibaran has already secured a mining license from the government of Tanzania.

The Epanko project is expected to start operations in early 2017.

ThyssenKrupp Metallurgical Products management of the board chairman Kai-Norman Knötsch said: "Graphite is an extremely good fit with our mineral unit’s portfolio.

"The collaboration with Kibaran Resources Limited will enable us to further expand our activities in the refractory industry in Europe, Russia and Korea."

Kibaran has now secured binding offtake and sales agreements for 75% of the planned graphite production at Epanko.

Kibaran Resources managing director Andrew Spinks said: "The signing of the agreement for the sale of Kibaran’s graphite products is a milestone event, enabling Kibaran to progress the development of Epanko and become a significant graphite producer.

"This is the Company’s second off-take agreement and we are in continuing discussions with other sophisticated, targeted customers worldwide."