Tirupati’s Madagascan projects continue at full pace following reorganisation

24th November 2022 By: Donna Slater - Creamer Media Contributing Editor and Photographer

Specialist graphite and graphene company Tirupati Graphite reports that its Madagascar-based Vatomina preconcentrate plant continues to operate uninterrupted and at nameplate ore feed capacity of 600 t/d, following a reorganisation of the plant.

The construction and installation of the second preconcentrate plant at Vatomina is now complete, with trial runs and integration to the existing operations under way.

Executive chairperson Shishir Poddar says the company has come a long way in a short time and has effectively brought under control the impacts of the adverse conditions experienced in Madagascar earlier this year.

With a reduction in ore movement activities, the current heavy earthmoving mining machinery fleet has completed the development of other infrastructure and nascent mining areas, which meet the ore feed requirements of the second preconcentrate plant.

Tirupati also notes that the strengthening of internal roads and other infrastructure developments at Vatomina are now complete and well prepared to mitigate the risks from adverse weather conditions in the future.

As such, he does not foresee any challenges in stabilising Vatomina operations at above 1 200 t/d of ore feed with effect from December, stabilising operations at 12 000 t/y output as planned.

The development of Tirupati’s other Madagascar-based project, Sahamamy, has also continued at full pace, with a new road connecting Sahamamy project to National Highway 2 and Vatomina project having been strengthened over 40 km, with the last few kilometres currently under completion.

An existing 3 000 t/y plant at Sahamamy remains in operation, but will be decommissioned in December following the stabilisation of the second preconcentrate operations at Vatomina.

Tirupati also reports that extensive mine development has been executed in the nascent Sahasoa deposits of the Sahamamy project and is ready to provide the required 1 200 t/d of ore for the new plants.

Construction and installation of both preconcentrate plants, as well as the main processing plant, in Sahamamy, are now complete with tests and trial runs initiated.

At Sahamamy, Tirupati says operations are on target to stabilise at 18 000 t/y by end of the year.

Meanwhile, the company reports that first power generation from the 100 kW hydropower plant was achieved this month, with integration and commercial use under way and with related cost savings expected to start from December.

To progress the next hydropower plant of 400 kW, related studies and application for required approvals have been initiated.

“Our innovative and cost-effective solutions have started to bear fruit. Market conditions for graphite are very positive, and this is the ideal time for us to be increasing production of this critical material,” he says.

With the turnaround of the Madagascan projects now complete, Poddar says Tirupati is again progressing towards its aim of providing about 8% of global flake graphite demand.