Tirupati Graphite plc (LON:TGR), the specialist graphite and graphene company developing sustainable new age materials, has provided a progress update on the ongoing developments and operations of the Sahamamy and Vatomina projects and further decisions taken by the Company to optimise the development of its Madagascar projects and operations.
Vatomina operations and development
· As announced on 15 August 2022 the Vatomina preconcentrate plant relocation and recommissioning was completed by mid-August 2022.
· The Company is pleased to advise that:
o The preconcentrate plant has achieved the name plate ore feed capacity of 600 tons per day and is in regular operation at or above nameplate ore feed capacity since the beginning of September 2022;
o The preconcentrate plant, pumping of preconcentrate, and final concentrate plant operations are synchronised to enable smooth and constant operation;
o The Company has initiated construction of a second preconcentrate plant at Vatomina with the objective of completing this by the end of October 2022;
o The final concentrate plant has a current capacity to go up to 12,000 tons per annum (“tpa”) output and to 18,000 tpa with minor additions;
o As the head grade is optimised over the next quarter from below 3% to the estimated >4%, the Company may take further steps to optimise the Vatomina project to reach 18,000tpa output capacity;
o Strengthening of internal roads and other infrastructure continues to seek to mitigate the risks from adverse weather conditions in the future.
· With reduction in ore movement activities, the current heavy earthmoving mining machinery (‘HEMM’) fleet is also being utilised for development activities related to the second preconcentrate plant and opening of additional nascent deposit areas.
Sahamamy operations and development
· The existing 3,000 tpa plant at Sahamamy is now operating at near rated capacity and, to seek to optimise operating costs, the dehydrated concentrate from the plant is being further processed and finished at Vatomina.
· Upon completion of the Vatomina second pre concentrate plant, the company has decided to decommission the 3,000 tpa operation. The equipment used at this plant will be redeployed into the reconfigured operations with two pre concentrate and one final concentrate plants at each of the two projects.
· Construction of both pre-concentrate and main processing plants at Sahamamy continues to progress and is in the final stages of completion.
· Installation, commissioning and trial runs will commence in the next two weeks and production ramp up is expected to complete by the end of the end of 2022.
· The commissioning of the 100Kw hydro power plant (‘HPP’), the c. 800m power evacuation overhead line and all facilities are now complete. Trial runs and first power generation are expected to commence from mid October 2022.
· The HPP is estimated to save c. 350-400 litres of diesel consumption per day.
· The Company has initiated activities for furthering the development of a second 400Kw HPP prospect in Sahamamy.
· With the experience gained by the Company in the first HPP plant established, it is well placed to fast track the progress of any second plant, which is expected to save a further c. 1400 – 1600 litres of diesel consumption in power generation once completed.
Guidance on output over the forthcoming two quarters
With the transformative changes in the operations and development in the current quarter, reducing uncertainties and mitigating operational risks [and with £1 million of gap funding being secured through the capital raise through Convertible Loan Notes announced on 8 August 2022,] the Company is now well placed to provide guidance on expectations on flake graphite production. The reorganisation will result in the Company having a net ore throughput capacity of 2,400 tons per day and a name plate capacity of 36,000 tpa flake graphite production per annum across the two projects. The Company is therefore pleased to provide the following estimated production guidance for the forthcoming two quarters:
|Period||Vatomina (tons)||Sahamamy (tons)||Total(tons)|
|October to December 2022||1,700 – 1,900||800 – 1,000||2,500 – 2,900|
|January to March 2023||2,600 – 2,800||3,500 – 3,700||6,100 – 6,500|
Progressively, the Company will aim to reach the name plate 8,000 tons per quarter flake graphite output from the operations. Any further CAPEX requirements in order to achieve this growth in capacity are expected to be met from the internal resources generated out of the operations of the Company.
The Company will currently remain focussed on streamlining its operations and in seeking to achieve >90% capacity utilisation from its current and under development capacities, strengthen its projects continuously and engage with the markets. Development of the balance of 54,000 tons planned capacity across existing Madagascan projects will follow targeting the end of 2024 for completion.
Shishir Poddar, Tirupati Graphite Executive Chairman, said:
“We are committed to continually innovating to ensure efficient operations, and the successful integration of the preconcentrate plant at Vatomina streamlines our production and strengthens our resilience against any adverse weather conditions.
We are pleased to announce our increasing guidance on flake graphite production as we continue to work towards adding the balance of 54,000 tons of planned capacity across our existing Madagascan projects, targeting completion by the end of 2024. This progress will help us to achieve our long-term goal of producing circa 8% of the global flake graphite market or 400,000 tpa by 2030.”