Australian-based Black Rock Mining (ASX:BKT) has produced what it believes is the world’s first 99.3 percent purity graphite concentrate at its pilot plant using flotation methods only, the company said on Tuesday (May 8).
The concentrate was produced from ore mined at its Mahenge graphite project in Tanzania. According to CEO John de Vries, the company is not aware of any deposit capable of producing that level of purity by standard flotation alone.
“Being able to generate ultrahigh-grade product using flotation is of significant value to downstream processors who are increasingly finding environmental constraints impacting their business,” said de Vries.
The Mahenge project consists of three graphite mineralised structures, including Epanko North, Ulanzi and Cascades. About 90 tonnes of Mahenge ore was processed at SGS Lakefield in Canada, including 50 tonnes from Cascades and 40 tonnes from Ulanzi.
De Vries said that the company was particularly pleased with the minimal flake degradation during the additional polishing, with over 55 percent of the ultra grade concentrate reporting to the large and jumbo fractions.
“With over 55 per cent of the ultra-grade concentrate reporting to the large and jumbo fraction, this simply underlines how remarkable Mahenge flake really is,” de Vries commented.
He added that the value proposition for high grade concentrate had recently been made by Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR), which is reportedly now targeting grades of 97-98 percent TGC (graphite).
According to a pre feasibility study, Black Rock’s Mahenge graphite project could deliver up to 250,000 tonnes per year of 98.5 percent graphite concentrate for 31 years. The project will be developed in three stages, with the first stage to require a capital investment of US$90.1 million.
Looking ahead, the company is working on a definitive feasibility study and it’s aiming to start construction late in 2018, with first production expected in 2019.
On Tuesday, shares of Black Rock closed up 6.52 percent at AU$0.04.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
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