BlackEarth keeps the high-grade graphite hits coming in Madagascar
Special report: BlackEarth Minerals is delivering more high-grade graphite from drilling at its Razafy prospect in Madagascar.
The latest drilling program at the Maniry project has returned grades of up to 10.4 per cent total graphitic carbon.
BlackEarth (ASX:BEM) is rapidly moving toward a maiden JORC resource, which is slated for release in July.
JORC refers to mining industry standards for reporting exploration results and mineral resources, defined by the Australasian Joint Ore Reserves Committee.
The resource will be used as part of the company’s “fast-track to cash flow” strategy, with a scoping study for the Razafy prospect due for completion by the end of this year.
“The company continues to meet every milestone of its aggressive development schedule,” managing director Tom Revy said.
“The results we have received so far have confirmed the board’s initial thoughts that Maniry has the potential to host a large graphitic mineralised system.”
Madagascar is renowned for its high-quality flake graphite and has been a traditional producer for over a century, but has never exceeded 12,000 tonnes of production annually.
Currently, annual production of flake graphite averages about 5000 tonnes.
A Canadia-listed company has a very similar project near BlackEarth’s Maniry and Ianapera projects that has a valuation much higher than what BlackEarth is valued at.
Both of BlackEarth’s Madagascan projects are geologically similar to the Molo project, but Molo’s grades are only around 7 to 8 per cent.
Growing global demand
The most significant driver of future graphite demand is the expanding lithium-ion battery markets, in particular the electric vehicle market.
Graphite is used to manufacture the anode in a lithium-ion battery. Each electric car contains more than 100 pounds of coated spherical graphite.
Both the European Union and the US have declared graphite a supply critical mineral. The US has historically been a big buyer of Madagascan graphite.
Market Intelligence firm Roskill predicts consumption of graphite in battery applications to grow by 17 to 22 per cent between 2017 and 2027.
Drilling at the Razafy prospect is due to be completed within two weeks.
BlackEarth has only just scratched the surface, with the 3400m drilling program representing only 5 per cent of the prospect.
Drilling will begin at the Haja prospect in June.
This special report is brought to you by BlackEarth Minerals.
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