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Kasiya rutile project, Malawi – update

Location map of the Kasiya rutile project

17th June 2022

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
Kasiya rutile project.

Location
Malawi.

Project Owner/s
Sovereign Metals.

Project Description
Kasiya is the biggest undeveloped rutile deposit in the world. Total mineral resources are estimated at 605-million tonnes grading 0.98% rutile and 1.24% total graphitic carbon.

The initial scoping study on the project has developed the concept for a multidecade mine providing a consistent supply of a highly sought-after rutile and graphite while contributing to Malawi’s economy. The proposed large-scale operation will process soft, friable mineralisation mined from surface, and will primarily use conventional hydromining to produce a slurry that will be pumped to a wet concentration plant where the material will be sized.

A heavy mineral concentrate will be produced by processing the sand fraction through a series of gravity spirals, after which it will be transferred to the dry-minerals separation plant, where premium-quality rutile will be produced using electrostatic and magnetic separation. Graphite-rich concentrate will be collected from the gravity spirals and processed in a separate graphite flotation plant, producing a coarse-flake graphite product.

The mine will have a throughput of 12-million tonnes a year over a 25-year mine life, producing 122 000 t/y of rutile and 80 000 t/y of graphite.

The rutile and graphite products will be trucked a short distance using existing bitumen roads to the Kanengo rail terminal, from where they will be railed through the Nacala logistics corridor to the deep-water port of Nacala, on the eastern seaboard of Mozambique.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
The project has an after-tax net present value, at an 8% discount rate, of $861-million and an internal rate of return of 36%, with a payback of 2.5 years.

Capital Expenditure
$332-million.

Planned Start/End Date
Not stated.

Latest Developments
Sovereign Metals has received analysis of the Kasiya rutile project's graphite co-product, one of the critical raw materials contained in the Kasiya deposit.

Results show that natural graphite concentrate can be produced as a co-product from the project.

Benchmarking the characteristics of the graphite demonstrates that it can be produced in line with the 2021 scoping study, with one of the lowest potential production costs globally; an extremely low carbon footprint for hard-rock operations or synthetic graphite production; and favourable flake-size distribution suitable for a range of end-uses, including feedstock for the lithium-ion battery sector, the company has highlighted.

The graphite that is planned to be produced as a co-product from the Kasiya rutile operation is estimated to be located at the lowest end of the global flake graphite cost curve.

Sovereign believes that Kasiya has the potential for a dominant market position, owing to the production scale of a coarse-flake, high-purity and highly crystalline product, which should be suitable for lithium-ion batteries and wider traditional industrial uses.

Kasiya's graphite flake size distribution compares favourably with that of industry peers, suggesting potential to achieve a high graphite basket price, the company has said.

An independent life-cycle assessment study has demonstrated that Kasiya's high-quality natural graphite concentrate should have a significantly lower carbon footprint than Chinese-produced natural graphite.

Meanwhile, the updated scoping study for Kasiya is on track and due for completion shortly

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
DRA (lead study manager); Jem-Met (project management); Placer Consulting (mineral resource estimate); Oreology Mine Consulting (mine scheduling and pit optimisation); Fraser Alexander (mining methods and tailings management); Epoch Resources (tailing disposal); AML (metallurgy – rutile); SGS (metallurgy – graphite); Dhamana Consulting (environment and social studies); JCM Power (power); TZMI (marketing – rutile); Fastmarkets (marketing – graphite); Morgan Sterling Consultants (logistics); and Minviro (life-cycle assessments).

Contact Details for Project Information
Sovereign Metals, tel +61 8 9322 6322 or email info@sovereignmetals.com.au.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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