Tirupati starts producing flake graphite at Sahamamy after cyclone delays

20th February 2023

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online


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London-listed Tirupati Graphite has started producing flake graphite at its Sahamamy project, in Madagascar, at a mining rate of 450 000 t/y and a final production rate of 18 000 t/y.

The commissioning of the new facilities was delayed by three months owing to shipping delays and weather-related interruptions in the country caused by Cyclone Cheneso, which hit Madagascar in mid-January.

The company has advised that, since commissioning the new facilities, the head grade feed into the 400 000 t/y preconcentrate plant has been in the target range of 4% to 5%, with a target product grade of more than 95% having been achieved consistently.

Tirupati advises that there have been no significant challenges in the startup of the new facilities and the operations are expected to reach the minimum stable output of 80% of nameplate capacity by March.

The company expects the Sahamamy project to produce between 800 t and 1 000 t in the quarter ending March 31, and between 3 500 t and 3 700 t of flake graphite in the quarter ending June 30.

Meanwhile, Tirupati says a second preconcentrate unit at the Vatomina project, in Madagascar, has been operating seamlessly since its commissioning late in December.

The company has made progress in improving the average head grade at Vatomina by using the extension deposits of currently operating pits. Tirupati envisions improving the head grade to an average of more than 3.5% at the project, from the current 2.5% range, as well as nameplate production capacity of 12 000 t/y of flake graphite.

Tirupati expects the Vatomina project to produce between 1 700 t and 1 900 t in the quarter ending March 31, and between 2 600 t and 2 800 t in the quarter ending June 30.

Chairperson Shishir Poddar says the demand for graphite globally is overwhelmingly positive, owing to it being a key component in electric vehicle batteries. With more than ten-million of these vehicles having been sold in 2022, the demand and price for graphite is set to remain strong for the foreseeable future.


Tirupati says it strengthened its infrastructure late in 2022 already, in preparation for the rainy season, which ensured that there was minimal damage from the recent severe weather.

When the cyclone hit Madagascar in January, Tirupati temporarily scaled back operations at both the Sahamamy and Vatomina projects for ten days to ensure the safety of its personnel and assets.

The company confirms there have been no injuries to staff or damage to property, and operations have since been scaled up to normal as water levels receded.

Tirupati affirms it remains prepared to mitigate the effects of any further adverse weather conditions.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online


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