Syrah on Target for Graphite Mine Start-Up

Syrah Resources Ltd of Australia has completed a fully underwritten AUS$211 million (US$150.4 million) capital raising to advance the development of its Balama graphite project in Mozambique. A feasibility study completed earlier this year proposed a processing plant with a feed rate of two million tonnes/year with an average head grade of approximately 19% total graphitic carbon, resulting in installed capacity of 356,000 tonnes/year of 95% Cg concentrate. Syrah says that Balama will be the largest producer of graphite globally and ideally positioned to meet the anticipated increase in demand for lithium ion battery applications, as well as traditional graphite markets. Tolga Kumova, Syrah’s managing director, said, “The completion of a fully underwritten capital raising during volatile financial markets and a general commodities downturn reaffirms the confidence of global investors in the strength of the Balama project and the fundamentals of the graphite market. The project development, operational and marketing teams are now working closely together to ensure the successful construction and ramp up of the Balama project by first quarter, 2017, and to establish Syrah as the leading and largest producer of high quality graphite products in the world.” Mason Graphite Inc of Laval, QC has published the results of the feasibility study for the development of its Lac Gueret graphite project in northeastern Quebec. The total capital expenditure for a facility to produce 51,900 tonnes/year is estimated at CDN$165.9 million. The average annual production cost of graphite concentrate is put at CDN$376/tonne compared with a weighted average selling price of CDN$1,905/tonne. Benoit Gascon, Mason’s CEO, commented, “We are thrilled about the excellent results of the feasibility study, which represent an important milestone as the company moves towards becoming a leader in the sector. In the two years since issuing our PEA results, our team has been deeply involved in every aspect of this study, working with all the partners from 25 different firms. These results give us, in a very detailed way, what is needed to successfully build and operate the project. All components have been derived using measured and calculated, not factored, values. Based on our extensive experience in graphite production, we are confident that they are realistic and achievable.” Comparisons with the PEA reveal that the life of the project has been increased from 22 years to 25 years; an additional polishing and flotation line has been added in the concentrator; and an additional building at the concentrator site has been added for shipments preparation and warehousing. The location of the concentrator has been moved from Lac Gueret to Baie-Comeau which considerably reduces Capex requirements. For the 25-year life of the project, the ore mined is projected to yield an average grade of 27.8% Cg. The concentrator has been designed for the standard purity of 96% Cg for the coarse products and will be capable of reaching purities of up to 97.5% Cg for the same size. Alabama Graphite Corp (AGC) of Vancouver, BC has announced that purities of 99.99% Cg have been obtained from preliminary studies testing the purification of the graphite concentrates from the company’’s Coosa graphite project located in Coosa County, AL. The purity was obtained using a conventional low temperature thermal purification process at a leading North American laboratory. The purification trials were conducted on graphite concentrates produced by SGS Mineral Services of Lakefield, ON. The trials were based on a total product mix and were carried out across the total flake-size distribution, in order to achieve a full-spectrum sampling of the Coosa graphite. Zenyatta Ventures Ltd of Thunder Bay, ON has announced positive results related to the characteristics of its Albany graphite from testing at Ben-Gurion University (BGU) in Israel. BGU has identified properties of Zenyatta’s Albany graphite that show positive attributes for use in multiple graphene applications. The Albany deposit is located in north-eastern Ontario. Dr Oren Regev, and associate professor at BGU, stated, “Zenyatta’s purified graphite material was tested by our R&D team on dispersion and application for composite property enhancement on drug delivery and hydrogen storage devices. BGU regularly uses various types of commercially available natural flake graphite by found Albany graphite to exfoliate under sonication much easier and with higher yields of graphene nanoparticles than any other natural graphite types that we have tried. “Sonication is a highly effective process using sound energy to agitate the graphene layers for separation. The Zenayatta graphite appears to be composed of smaller and cleaner particles with a narrower particle size distribution. We believe that this is a high value special material with unique characteristics that could make Albany graphite the preferred material for conversion to valuable graphene applications.” Zenyatta and BGU have identified funding support opportunities and are presently in discussions with governments and private corporations to secure these arrangements for scaling up our collaboration.

Volume 29 issue 19

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