Vatomina Project - flake graphite mining and processing, MADAGASCAR

Vatomina graphite mining project

The project was acquired in May 2017 along with the team, technology, project plans and brand values. It has a 25 km2 permit area with mining permits issued for 40 years that are renewable. The project is being developed to a total production capacity of 60,000 TPA in modules. The first module, comprising a 6,000 TPA plant is substantially constructed and nearing completion.

The company has carried out multiple activities for the development of the project:

Exploration & RESOURCE
  • A third of the mineralised zones have been explored to date
  • Exploration activities include  >3000m core drilling, >4800m auger drilling, pitting, trenching, mapping, surveys and exploration mining of 36 MT ore.
  • Maiden JORC Resources (by SRK Consultants):
    •  Indicated - 3.2mt @ 4.3% GC
    •  Indicated - 15.2mt @ 4.7% GC
  • Exploration target of between 8 to 10 million tonnes of flake graphite with an average grade of 3-4% TGC
  • Resource upside potential on both lateral and vertical axis
  • Staged exploration strategy, establishing enough resource for development plan
  • The currently defined Mineral Resource Estimate under JORC (2012) implies total contained graphite of 852,000 tons resulting in a mine life of over 14 years based on the planned 60,000 TPA production capacity.
  • Cost optimisation - bought a diamond core drilling rig and developed an expert team for exploration activities

Metallurgical Tests and Processing:

Graphite Mining Process - Metallurgical Tests
  • Tirupati inherited proven technology, designs and plans for its projects.
  • Further metallurgical and characterisation studies were performed and completed by an independent and acclaimed research institute:
    • Pilot scale tests using 12 MT ore from exploratory mining was performed.
    • A lean process with higher purification, flake size retention and more productivity developed.
    • A unique precursor process for extracting 50% waste as by-product construction sand at stage 1 developed - "Waste to Wealth"
    • Samples were tested for numerous applications, depicted high industrial prospects, including high purity, expandable graphite, spherical graphite and graphene

Key Developments

Vatomina graphite mining project infrastructure development
Project Infrastructure & ancillary facilities
  • Internal roads about 20 km & bridges built
  • Campsite for 20 management team powered by solar energy
  • Engineering centre established, supporting plant construction
  • Laboratory created for testing exploration samples as well as supporting production activities post-commissioning.
  • First set of earthwork equipment – Dump trucks, backhoe deployed
  • Construction of the plant, including foundations, flooring, guard walls, equipment foundations etc completed
  • Plant superstructure manufactured at the site
  • Procurement of processing and mining equipment being progressed
Team Building, Market development
  • Engineers, Geoscientists and project top management working on the ground
  • Land acquisitions completed, villagers happily engaging in community welfare practices
  • Market development progressed substantially