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Orom-Cross graphite project, Uganda – update

Image of graphite ore

3rd November 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
Orom-Cross graphite project.

Location
Uganda.

Project Owner/s
Graphite, nickel and copper developer Blencowe Resources.

Project Description
A prefeasibility study (PFS) has highlighted an exceptional long-life project that delivers considerable returns over an initial life-of-mine of 14 years.

An estimated 600 000 t/y of ore will be mined from the commissioning date and this will increase to 2.4-million tonnes a year by the time the project is fully ramped up in Year 10.

Mining will be free-dig, with no drill-and-blast required. Initial ore will come from saprolite (clay) at an average depth of about 15 m to 20 m. Both deposits (Northern syncline and Camp lode) identified in the drilling programmes will be mined and a composite blend of both will be fed into the processing plant that will be built on site.

An initial 36 000 t/y of end-product will be delivered from the plant as concentrates, which will increase in two additional stages to 147 000 t/y once the mine is fully ramped up. 

Further resources, higher production volumes and an extended mine life can all be obtained at any stage by drilling additional ready-targets. This, however, is not currently considered a priority.

The processing flowsheet comprises a flash and rougher flotation stage, followed by a primary cleaning circuit with a polishing mill and three stages of cleaner flotation. The intermediate concentrate is classified and then further upgraded in secondary cleaning circuits using stirred media mills, followed by cleaner flotation.

Orom-Cross will deliver at least five different end-products, characterised by size fractions of +50 mesh, + 80 mesh, +100 mesh, +150 mesh and -100 mesh. These products will have different markets and will be branded and packaged on site.

Initially, transport to port will be by road, but it is expected that a rail option might be available by 2025, further reducing logistics costs.

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 $482-million and an internal rate of return of 50%.

Capital Expenditure
The initial capital requirement has been lowered by 23%, to $62-million, since the preliminary economic assessment was announced in 2021. 

Planned Start/End Date
Blencowe will start the main operations from 2025 at an initial output of 36 000 t/y of end-product.

Latest Developments
Additional testwork has been completed by two leading graphite technical specialist laboratories – Wuhan University, in conjunction with Qingdao Jinhui Graphite Co, in China; and American Energy Technologies Company, in the US – resulting in an uncoated spheronised purified graphite (SPG) product with a 99.96% purity and promising size distribution and characteristics. 

"The ultimate prequalification test for all graphite is how the concentrate upgrades to the 99.95% SPG product that then gets coated before going into the anode within the lithium-ion battery, and . . . exceptional SPG products will be produced from Orom-Cross,” Blencowe executive chairperson Cameron Pearce has said.  

The project is not only at the highest levels on most relevant indicators but testing has shown that it can also deliver other valuable products from waste material generated within the process, which further strengthens Blencowe’s commercial model. 

The company has said this work is critical to understanding the commercial potential of the fines concentrate, specifically for use as anode materials in the lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) and wider rechargeable battery markets. 

Blencowe will proceed with additional metallurgical testwork, with additional samples of uncoated SPG and other flake sizes distributed to potential offtakers and battery manufacturers for upgrades to large flake, as well as opportunities for use of SPG wastes.  

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Battery Limits (PFS); IMO (technical testwork); and CPC Engineering (DFS).

Contact Details for Project Information
Blencowe Resources, tel +44 1624 681 250 or email info@blencoweresourcesplc.com.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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