Tirupati Graphite plc (LON:TGR), the fully integrated, revenue generating, specialist graphite producer and graphene and advanced materials developer, has announced that it has commissioned Stage 1 of its Tirupati Graphene and Mintech Research Centre, which is focused on graphene manufacturing and applications development, advanced materials development and mineral processing technology development.
· Commissioning of Stage 1 marks the start of revenue generating activities from TGMRC and enables the Company to advance current and prospective commercialisation engagements.
· Current facilities are capable of manufacturing up to a kilogram per day of Graphene Oxide (‘GO’), reduced Graphene Oxide (‘rGO’) and Aluminium Graphene Composite (‘Al-Gr Composite’) materials using the zero chemical process developed by the Company.
· Ongoing development to expand the manufacturing capacities up to 10 kilograms per day (10x uplift).
· Facilities will also manufacture one ton per day of high purity graphite (‘HPG’) manufactured by the zero HF process developed by the Company – HPG is a precursor for all specialty graphite products which the Company will leverage to supply trial lots to prospective industrial end users for its speciality graphite products.
· Various facilities have been installed for the mineral processing technology division, which has secured four additional commercial contracts since the first was announced in January.
Shishir Poddar, CEO of Tirupati Graphite, said, “We believe that material innovation and technology development will be one of the biggest drivers for economic growth given their potential to contribute extensively to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. We are therefore delighted to be at the forefront of this exciting space having commenced commercial production at our new high-tech graphene and technology R&D centre in India.
“While we expect our graphene and composite materials to provide many benefits to advanced 2D materials applications being developed around the world, the MINTECH activities are set up to target developing innovative technologies for lean and low-grade resource utilisation, minimising energy consumption and waste generation in mineral processing technologies. Tirupati itself is already a beneficiary of MINTECH’s achievements at our own primary graphite operations in Madagascar where the process yields circa 50% of tailings waste as a by-product in the form of construction sand, which can be monetised.
“Both the primary and speciality graphite divisions of the Company have been generating revenues since the start of their commercial operations and are being expanded in line with our medium-term development plans. Having now commenced our commercial scale facilities at TGMRC, we expect the centre to be able to generate sufficient revenues to support its ongoing operational costs as well. This means that all three operating divisions of the Company shall be contributing to our top line, further reducing risks, and validating our integrated business model. I am thrilled that our vision has taken shape so quickly and look forward to providing further updates as we advance each integral part of the business to keep up with the high demand for our products.”
Tirupati continues to advance its integrated operations across its portfolio including primary mining and processing projects in Madagascar and speciality graphite and graphene processing businesses in India. In line with its phased development strategy that minimises pre-revenue investment, the Company has commissioned Stage 1 of TGMRC, which is composed of GRACE, a graphite & graphene centre of excellence, and MINTECH, a mineral processing & extractive metallurgy centre of excellence. With a number of contracts already in place, this marks the start of core revenue generation activities from this division.
Having been awarded a two-acre plot in January 2021 (see announcement dated 20 January 2021), the Company is delighted that Stage 1 of the new TGMRC facility has already been established, which enables the capabilities to manufacture up to a kilogram per day of GO, rGO and its novel Al-Gr Composite. Additionally, one ton per day of high purity graphite (‘HPG’) can be manufactured, which is a precursor for all specialty graphite products including spherical, expandable, and micronized graphite, using the environmentally friendly processes developed by TGMRC.
Accordingly, the manufacturing of these advanced materials can be used for tests and qualifications for various current and prospective commercialisation engagements, which the Company is progressing, while the HPG facilities provide leverage to supply bulk scale trial consignments to prospective buyers and end users for its speciality graphite products.
TGMRC will continue to build additional capacities to reach an intermediate manufacturing scale of up to 10 kilograms per day of the Company’s GO and rGO, tracking the market development of graphene, and the manufacture of sufficient sample quantities to industrial users of its Al-GR Composite to target material qualification for weight sensitive applications and paving the way for the commercialisation of this exciting novel composite material developed by the Company (see RNS dated 4 May 2021).
Additionally, various facilities have been installed for the mineral processing technology division, MINTECH, including high tech metallurgical testing and mineral processing equipment and technology development. Notably, since the first commercial contract announcement earlier in the year (see RNS 29 January 2021), MINTECH has won four additional commercial contracts with mining and mineral processing companies and several others are in the pipeline. These projects span across beneficiation studies and flow sheet development for different ores, rheological studies and design of pipeline transportation and plant optimisation for existing mineral processing projects.
Established to leverage the Company’s extensive expertise, intellectual property, and human capital, TGMRC is part of Tirupati Speciality Graphite Private Limited (‘TSG’), with whom Tirupati has a binding acquisition agreement subject to regulatory approvals and which is focused on completing a 15,000 tpa speciality graphite project in H1 2022.