PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Graphite miner Syrah Resources on Wednesday said it was tracking ahead of schedule with its restart operations at the Balama project, in Mozambique.
Natural graphite production at Balama ramped up to 29 000 t during the quarter, up from the 5 000 t produced in the March quarter when production was restarted.
Contract mining operations restarted in April this year, with Syrah hiring 216 personnel during the quarter, taking the labour contingent at Balama to 499 staff, excluding contractors.
Syrah told shareholders that plant recovery was above 80% in June, and is expected to benefit from the ongoing implementation of improvement projects. Product quality for the quarter also matched the best performance reported during 2019, with better control over grade and recovery.
Meanwhile, C1 cash costs reached $537/t during the quarter, at an average production of some 10 000 t a month, with Syrah telling shareholders it was on track to achieve its C1 cash cost target of $430/t to $460/t, at 15 000 t a month of production.
Natural graphite sales for the quarter reached 15 000 t, and nearly all of the 20 000 t finished product inventory was contracted to customers, Syrah reported. The company is contracting Balama’s high-quality products to additional end-user customers, at higher contract volumes and over longer tenors. However, the miner noted that disruption to the global container shipping market is currently impacting Balama product shipments and the ability to match Balama production and sales with customer demand.
As a result, the finished product inventory was higher at the end of the quarter.
The weighted average sales price of natural graphite for the quarter reached $474/t, and Syrah said that its primary sales focus during the quarter was on re-establishing fines shipments to the battery supply chain in China, with fines sales accounting for some 90% of the overall product sales.
Meanwhile at its Vidalia active anode material facility, in the US, Syrah achieved the first fully integrated production of on-specification active anode material (AAM) during the quarter.
A final investment decision for the construction of a 10 000 t/y AAM facility at Vidalia is planned during the second half of 2021, subject to end customer commitments and strategic and financial partnerships.