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Orom-Cross graphite project, Uganda – update

Image of a lump of graphite

26th April 2024

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 +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
Blencowe Resources has confirmed receipt of a third tranche of funding of $1-million from the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC).

The DFC granted financing of $5-million to Blencowe to cover definitive feasibility study costs in September 2023.

Blencowe has received $3-million of the total since the agreement was signed.

The company has completed spheronised and purified graphite (SPG) coating testwork and waste composite flake testwork studies in this regard; it also initiated a commercial study on a proposed downstream processing facility to deliver 99.95% uncoated SPG in Uganda.

The results from these studies, including expandability testwork done by a US graphite technical expert, continue to confirm Orom-Cross as a standout graphite project with unique characteristics.

Blencowe has indicated that the coating of SPG product marks a crucial step towards product qualification, positioning Orom-Cross favourably with tier-one offtakers.

Achieving success in expandability testing enhances the potential for high-value niche sales for large-flake products that could drive the bulk of project revenues in the future.

The company is exploring the potential establishment of a downstream processing facility to further upgrade the purity of the company's graphite from a 96% concentrate to 99.95% uncoated SPG. 

This transformation would elevate the value of the lowest-value small-flake concentrate from about $600/t to about $2 500/t, which would set Orom-Cross apart from its peers and meet significant demand for a 99.95% graphite product range sourced from outside China. 

Although still in its early stages, this strategy promises significant value addition, with commercial studies under way to assess its integration into the core production strategy.

Blencowe remains actively engaged with potential offtake partners worldwide, including tier-one offtakers that are evaluating product samples. The CEO and COO are expected to travel to China and South Korea over the next few weeks to further these discussions and establish key offtake relationships.

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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