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Metallurgical test work at Blencowe’s Orom-Cross graphite project complete

4th September 2023

By: Darren Parker

Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online

     

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London-listed Blencowe Resources has announced the successful completion of additional metallurgical test work on its Orom-Cross graphite project, in Uganda. The testing was conducted by graphite technical specialist laboratory Jilin New Technology, based in Yanji, northern China.  

According to Blencowe, the metallurgical test work conducted by Jilin is a crucial step in assessing the viability of commercial-scale processing for the Orom-Cross project.  

It provides insights into the quality of the high-grade graphite concentrate produced, flake sizing yield and the operability of a processing plant at Orom-Cross. Additionally, the 100 t bulk sample generated from this testing will be instrumental in end-user testing for the definitive feasibility study (DFS).   

"We are very pleased with these results . . .We believed [Jilin’s] extensive knowledge over decades in the industry would deliver superior net concentrate results," Blencowe executive chairperson Cameron Pearce said on September 4. 

He added that the company now had proof it could deliver a high-quality graphite concentrate from Orom-Cross on a commercial scale, which is a key DFS milestone. 

“In parallel, we are testing the upgrade of this concentrate to uncoated battery-ready 99.95% spheronised, purified graphite and expandables as the next important step to significantly value-add our end products,” Pearce said.  

Blencowe now possesses larger quantities of concentrate as bulk samples for potential buyers and strategic groups. These entities can proceed to test the concentrate and determine their interest in binding offtake agreements, which are crucial for project financing. 

The company believes these results will attract a range of graphite consumers and contribute to addressing the expected graphite shortfall in the market in the foreseeable future. 

The metallurgical test work was based on a bulk sample sourced from both the Northern Syncline and Camp Lode areas within Orom-Cross.  

The objectives of the pilot plant programme included confirming the commercial scale viability of processing Orom-Cross ores, achieving a 95% to 97% total graphite content pure concentrate with low impurities, validating laboratory testing models, ensuring the liberation process to maintain a majority of jumbo/extra-large/large flakes within the concentrate, confirming the process flow diagram for the pilot plant design as part of the DFS, and providing a significant quantity of bulk concentrate for discussions with potential offtake partners. 

Blencowe said the pilot plant process successfully achieved all these objectives. The process optimisation based on previous laboratory testing was successful, resulting in a shorter overall ore processing cycle, reduced capital expenditure, and lower operating costs, which the company believed would enhance the project's financials. 

The streamlined processing design also led to increased recoveries of more valuable larger +50 mesh flake, from 6.5% to 9.5% yield within the overall basket of end-products. This, along with an increase in overall large flake yield by about 2% and overall concentrate recoveries exceeding 94%, adds further value to the project's financials.   

The additional metallurgical test work showed a robust flowsheet capable of repeatable metallurgy for a wide range of feed samples from Orom-Cross, Blencowe said, adding that these results would be directly used as a reference in the actual concentrator engineering design for the DFS. 

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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