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Balama Facilities, Image: Syrah Resources

Syrah Resources is set to restart production at the Balama graphite operation in Mozambique as local COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease.

The project, which contains one of the world’s largest natural graphite deposits, was shut down in March 2020 as the virus halted activities across the east-African nation.

The shutdown came just two weeks after Syrah reported a positive outlook on meeting its production guidance.

The specific restrictions said to have impacted production at the Balama project pertained to travel restrictions and a lack of user demand from the lower-end market.

Syrah expects a 2-3 month delay from reopening to production as a result of its labour restructure at Balama in July 2020.

The restructure aimed to preserve cash while retaining its potential for a restart post-COVID-19 restrictions.

Syrah stated it was well positioned to continue at Balama once its work force was repleted, thanks to the restructure.

In 2019, Balama sold 163,000 tonnes of natural graphite into the global market, while a 2014 release detailed the potential value of vanadium found at Balama.

Vanadium is a metal used mostly for steel alloys in tools, vehicles and even nuclear reactors. It can be sold for between US$12.5 ($15.84) and $US50 per kilogram.

The Syrah share price is up over 11 per cent at $1.28 on the ASX at time of writing.