Emerging graphite producer Battery Minerals (ASX: BAT) has doubled the resource estimate for its Balama graphite project in Mozambique, with a feasibility study on the project due to wind up in August.
Situated near Battery’s advanced flagship asset Montepuez, the company hopes Balama will add to future production.
The upgrade has boosted Balama’s total resource inventory to 32.9 million tonnes grading 10.2% total graphitic carbon for 3.36 million tonnes of contained graphite.
Prior to the upgrade, indicated resources were 8.9mt grading 9.3% TGC and inferred resources 7.3mt grading 11.8% TGC.
“With the mining licence now secured for our Montepuez project and the resource inventory increased to such a huge extent, our strategy to become a major graphite supplier for the battery industry is well on track,” Battery managing director David Flanagan said.
A scoping study on Balama indicated the project could project up to 55,000tpa of graphite concentrate over 10 years based purely on the indicated resource. The company has also looked into expanding this to 100,000tpa.
Battery hopes to bring Balama online in 2022 to complement stage two production at Montepuez.
Montepuez mining licence obtained
Battery is a step closer to production at Montepuez after securing a mining licence for the project earlier this week.
“This is a significant milestone for the company as it means we have approvals for stages one and two of our Montepuez project and for production of at least 100,000 tonnes per annum of graphite concentrate,” Mr Flanagan said.
The company is aiming to commission the first stage of the project in November this year, with first graphite shipments due in the first quarter of 2019.
Under stage one, Battery will produce up to 50,000tpa of 96.7% pure graphite concentrate. The next stage will increase that to 100,000tpa by 2020.
Mr Flanagan said Montepuez would create 170 jobs when it is operating.
By the end of January, Battery had pinned down four offtake deals for 80% of Montepuez’s initial graphite production.
Each deal gives Battery an assured buyer for the majority of its graphite for its first three years of operation.
Shares in Battery were up 1.27% to A$0.08 in early afternoon trade.