The Australian mining company Triton Minerals, which holds the rights to graphite deposits in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, on Tuesday announced that refinements to its modelling for the company’s flagship Ancuabe project have shown that it can increase the production capacity for its pilot plant by up to 70 per cent with no additional capital expenditure.
Under the revised plans, the company will build a plant capable of processing 250,000 tonnes of earth per annum which will produce between 15,000 and 17,000 tonnes of graphite concentrate. Previous estimates suggested that the output would be 10,000 tonnes of concentrate per annum.
According to Triton’s managing director, Andrew Frazer, “once again I am pleased to be able to report both rapid and positive results that the Triton board and management have been able to deliver”. He added that the company aims to make its final investment decision in the second quarter of next year, with the plant coming into production by July 2023 at the latest.
In November, the company entered into a binding agreement with the Chinese company Yichang Xincheng Graphite for the purchase up to 10,000 tonnes per annum, and Frazer states that the company is already speaking to potential customers about the additional production.
Triton’s ultimate goal is to expand the Ancuabe project to produce 60,000 tonnes per annum of high purity large flake graphite over a mine life of 27 years.
Mozambique is a major global source of graphite with Syrah Resources’ project at Balama, also in Cabo Delgado province, having the capacity to produce 350,000 tonnes of graphite concentrate per year over its mine life of fifty years.
Graphite is a highly valued form of carbon due to its properties as a conductor of electricity. It is used in batteries and fuel cells and is the basis for the “miracle material” graphene, which is the strongest material ever measured with vast potential for use in the electronics industries. In addition, expandable graphite can be pressed into sheets for use as a heat and fire retardant.