The decision follows the positive downstream processing feasibility study results reported in December 2017, which demonstrated that the additional production of spherical graphite products will substantially increase the value of the Epanko development.
Kibaran Resources plans a phased spherical graphite production strategy to capitalize on the quality of its natural graphite products from the Epanko project development in Tanzania.
An initial test-work program, funded through available working capital, is being conducted to:
- optimise the spherical graphite production process for Epanko feedstock
- confirm the suitability of other feed-stocks for use in the Kibaran spherical graphite process
- complete customer pre-qualification processes for product sales
Application of Kibaran Resources’ new purification process to a range of feed-stocks will significantly increase it’s commercial value and ensure that the initial pilot plant investment is fully utilised prior to commencement of graphite production at Epanko.
Following the test-work program, the German pilot plant will be expanded into a small commercial facility, capable of supplying up to 600 tpa of unpurified spherical graphite products to customers.
There are a number of investment incentives offered to support such programs and Kibaran Resources is currently discussing potential funding support with two German Government trade organisations.
Kibaran Resources’ decision to progress with the pilot plant coincides with Germany’s Mineral Resources Agency and the German Industrial Association both recently reporting that the potential future shortage of battery minerals poses a major threat to the development of Germany’s electric automobile industry.
Information obtained from the pilot plant program will be used to design and engineer a full commercial scale operation to supply purified spherical graphite products to customers in Europe and Asia.
Based on the downstream processing feasibility study reported in December 2017, this plant will initially produce 5 000 tpa of spherical graphite and progressively expand to 20 000 tpa to meet the forecast demand growth for graphite products.
Discussions have recently commenced with several groups about participation in Kibaran Resources’ downstream processing operations, investment and the location of the proposed commercial scale plant(s).
Kibaran Resources plans to establish the new downstream processing operations in parallel with the development of the Epanko graphite project in Tanzania, where meetings are continuing with the Government to finalize regulatory and project financing arrangements.
Source: Mining Review Africa