Tirupati Graphite provide progress update for Madagascar expansion projects

Tirupati Graphite plc (LON:TGR, TGRHF.OTCQX), the specialist graphite and graphene company developing sustainable new age materials, has provided a progress update on the expansion of its graphite production operations in Madagascar.

Highlights

·      Construction of the new 18,000 tpa primary flake graphite plant at Sahamamy remains on track for completion by the end of calendar Q2-2022 and upon completion, this plant will increase total production capacity in Madagascar to 30,000 tpa

·      The majority of the earthmoving equipment for this 18,000 tpa plant has now arrived in Madagascar as scheduled, and is being delivered to site ahead of mine opening

·      Tirupati is also commissioning three 18,000 tpa plants at Vatomina, due to be completed during calendar years 2023/4 to increase total production capacity in Madagascar to 84,000 tpa by end 2024; believed to represent c.5-7% of current global demand

·      Expected that ongoing and future developments will incorporate Tirupati’s new Column Flotation System which has cost and emission reduction benefits, and improves operating efficiency

Progress Update                                                                            

Tirupati Graphite today announces that most of the new earthmoving equipment for the 18,000 tpa plant at Sahamamy, which includes hydraulic excavators, payloaders, bulldozers and area graders from leading manufacturers including Hitachi, Komatsu and BEML, has arrived in Madagascar on schedule despite logistical challenges imposed by the pandemic. The remaining items, four 30 tonne articulated dump trucks, are in transit and expected to arrive on site in early February 2022. This new mining equipment acquired by the Company has a combined in country landed cost of c.US$3 million.

In accordance with the project delivery plans, ahead of completing construction of the 18,000 tpa processing plant at Sahamamy, Tirupati will commence mine opening activities at the currently nascent Sahasoa deposit area within the Sahamamy project as well as strengthening internal infrastructure to support the expanded operations. The Sahasoa deposit constitutes the majority of the current delineated JORC resources at the Sahamamy project and has been reserved to supply ore feedstock to the new plant under construction.

Redevelopment of the 100 kilowatt Sahamamy hydropower plant is nearing completion and remains on track for commissioning during the current quarter. The commissioning of the hydropower plant will substantially replace  the diesel generated power currently used, reducing GHG emissions by c.50% and power costs by c.10% from the next quarter onwards.

As announced on 20 January 2022, the 18,000 tpa plant at Sahamamy has been redesigned to use the newly developed Column Flotation System. This has been achieved without delaying the planned timelines and is expected to deliver significant benefits on costs, emissions and operating efficiencies.  In addition, the design of the processing plant has been optimised to eliminate the need to transport mined ore from Sahasoa to the main plant which is located c.3 kilometres away.  This will deliver further cost and emission reduction benefits.

Tirupati is reviewing the designs for the three development modules planned at Vatomina, totalling 54,000 tpa of additional capacity, to adopt the same model and the new Column Flotation System.  These initiatives will further strengthen the Company’s status as a lowest cost quartile producer of natural flake graphite . The Company will continue to update the markets as these plans evolve.

Production

Operations at both Sahamamy and Vatomina were restarted smoothly following the Christmas and New Year holiday period and graphite production remains in line with expectations.

Shishir Poddar, Executive Chairman of Tirupati Graphite, said:

“Tirupati Graphite’s growth projects across its primary graphite division remain on track to achieve total flake graphite production capacity of 84,000 tonnes per annum by the end of 2024, in line with our vision to be a world leader in the graphite space.  Our Madagascan mines produce high-quality flake graphite concentrate, providing an essential alternative to Chinese sources. 

“Our capacity expansion comes as graphite demand and prices continue to increase, leading to recent media reports forecasting a shortage of flake graphite due to the global growth in EV sector. We are focused on capturing the opportunity this represents to create sustainable value for our shareholders.”

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