The company holds two projects in Madagascar for basic mining and processing of Flake Graphite. Madagascar has been producing graphite for more than 100 years and was a preferred choice of the company for multiple reasons. The mining permit areas and hence the project locations were also chosen with regards to their feasibility:
Madagascar offers weathered low cost saprolite hosted flake graphite deposits with a high concentration of jumbo and large flakes with a highly crystalline microstructure.
A favourable mining law offering conducive operating climate in a stable jurisdiction, supportive to investment.
Support of Madagascar government and the local villagers and their leadership.
Madagascar is also well located on the globe with proximity to all markets.
The company has a total mining permit area of 33 km2 with permits issued for 40 years and are further renewable.
The flagship project - Vatomina Project - is located on the National Highway 2 which connects it to the capital city of Antananarivo and the major port of Toamasina. The second project - the Sahamamy project - is located at an aerial distance of 8 km from Vatomina, hence the same benefits.
The port is at a distance of 70 km, ships globally.
THE VATOMINA PROJECT
The project was acquired from Tirupati Carbons and Chemical (P) Ltd. on the May 11th, 2017. With the acquisition, the company inherited:
A 25 km2 40-year Mining Permit with environment authorisation infrastructure ready with base camp at project site.
A JORC CPR defining a resource target of approximately 6.5 to 13.1 million tons Flake Graphite deposits in 1.15 km2 of the area. Further exploration determining additional more or less 3-5 km2 potential flake graphite deposit areas through geological mapping, trenching and pitting conducted for validation.
Project development plans, mining and processing technologies, designs and expertise alongside an in country and expert management team with years of world leading flake graphite operations.
The Tirupati Graphite brand, well recognised and connected in the industry space and backing of our principal shareholders with decades of successful flake graphite experience.
The company is developing this project to a total capacity of 60,000 TPA flake graphite production in modules by 2021. The company has developed a 18,000 TPA module which will be installed in stages, adding one each year and a 6,000 TPA module in Q1 2019 (Stage 1). The following activities have been executed, after the acquisition, at the project:
Exploration: Exploration has been done to a proved level - drilling of 57 holes upto 80 m depth completed at an operating cost of c. $25/m, exploratory mining conducted.
Infrastructure: Internal roads about 20 km, bridges buit, solar powered campsite, in-country headquarters at Antananarivo, plant area land leveling completed and stage 1 construction initiated.
Equipment: First set of earth work equipment deployed, first stage plant equipment being manufactured and procured.
Metallurgical Tests: The company commissioned an independent research institute for testing bulk samples from the project at lab scale for enhancement of flow sheet and characterization of product. The inherited flow sheet was further enhanced with technologies for retaining flake size and lowering production costs and further maximising output.
The company has also complete all the land acquisitions for the project with villagers happily engaging in community welfare activities. Engineers, geoscientists and project management team are working on ground.
THE SAHAMAMY PROJECT:
In October 2017, Tirupati Graphite Plc acquired 100% equity of the Sahamamy-Sahasoa project under a high value accretive deal. Establishment Rostaing, owned by a French family, holds the project after decades of operations. The project currently has a 8 km2 (to be put as km to the power 2) mining permit with an additional 8km2 applied for grant and currently being processed. The project has been supported by Tirupati India for over 3 year with 100% output purchase, resource quality and market tested product. The company inherited a competent and skillful ground team of around 50 people and the promoter joining the TG team.
Topographical surveys, historical geological data compilation and mapping has already commenced in the area. The Sahamamy operating strike has been established for 1 km length and the Sahasoa strike of 600m has been discovered, revealing a huge upside resource potential. Graphite is concentrated in saprolites in granular form with relict texture of granulitic gneisses well preserved. Flake sizes are predominantly jumbo and large, which matches goods the Tirupati Indian facility has received for years. The average total graphitic carbon is estimated to be over 7% and 30m depth can be considered established from open cross sections in mined areas.
The project is being developed to a capacity of 21,000 TPA in two stages of 3,000 TPA and 18,000 TPA capacities respectively by 2020.
Current Operations: The old operations at the project were producing 250 TPA which the company after acquisition enhanced to 850 TPA through its expertise. The approach road was also strengthened. Quality control and testing lab has been established.
Resource Assessment: The company inherited historical and further performed topographical surveys using Total Station, compilation of all historical geological data, detailed geological mapping of the area, geophysical studies, augur drilling, sampling and assays. The maiden CPR of the project is now complete.
Development of 3000 TPA plant: The project is at the final stage of construction and all the equipment for the processing plant, engineering center etc., have all been received at the project. The plant will be commissioned in Q4 2018.