Tirupati Graphite plc (LON:TGR, TGRHF.OTCQX), the specialist graphite and graphene company developing sustainable new age materials, has provided an update on its Madagascar operations. The Company is addressing operational challenges while also moving closer to its target for net zero emissions.
Infrastructure and Capacity Development to 30ktpa
The Company is on track to increase its primary flake graphite production capacity in Madagascar to 30ktpa by September 2022 which will make it one of the few significant producers of the critical mineral outside China.
As announced on 22 June 2022, the Company faced challenges achieving production targets in the first half of the year due to constrained weather conditions causing difficulties in transportation of mined ore to the processing plant. To address these challenges and mitigate against future issues, the Company is implementing the following measures:
· A c. 5km road improvement programme covering identified failure points has been developed, reduced from the previously estimated 50km programme; and
· Reducing transportation requirements via the setup of pre-concentrate units at pit heads, followed by final processing in the plant area to reduce heavy load on the road network.
Pre-Concentrate Unit Plan update
· The Company is dividing its processing flow sheet into two parts, shifting the first leg of processing, which removes 80-90% of impurities from the ore, to the mine pit heads thus referred to as the ‘pre-concentrate’ units.
· The ‘pre-concentrate’ will be pumped to the main plant for the final leg of purification, upgrading it into a finished product with up to 96% purity.
· The pre-concentrate units have been designed as ‘plug and play’ type facilities which can be shifted from one pit head to another.
· At Vatomina, the pre-concentrate unit is under development and is expected to be completed by the end of July 2022, which will help Tirupati achieve the target production rate. This development will use machinery and equipment already available on site.
· The build-up of pre-concentrate plants at Sahamamy has been initiated and remains on track for September completion.
This will eliminate the movement of ore from pit head to processing plant by road and insulate the operations from weather related challenges while also significantly reducing the emissions from the mining fleet.
Furthermore, the reduced transportation requirement will also reduce emissions from operations, supporting Tirupati’s target to reach net-zero in both processing and mining. This is in line with the Company’s aim to become the first net-zero emissions and zero-waste producer of flake graphite.
The mining fleet can be deployed more productively to extract higher quantities of ore, increasing the mining capacity.
Sahamamy Hydropower Plant
The commissioning of the first hydropower plant is ongoing, in line with the target of July 2022. The Company expects to reduce its carbon emissions significantly once the commissioning is completed.
Shishir Poddar, Tirupati Graphite Executive Chairman, said:
“We are constantly innovating to overcome challenges and look to use this as an opportunity to improve our operations. An added benefit is that the solutions we have worked through in recent weeks will also help us reduce our emissions and move us closer to our net zero targets, as set out in our maiden ESG report released last year. These solutions will also help reduce the investment pressure on substantial infrastructure build. We will continue to work find solutions and improvements as we look to build Tirupati into a leader in the flake graphite space.”