BlackEarth Minerals is putting the finishing touches into a feasibility study which will lay out the pathway to developing one of Africa’s next major graphite mines.

The study is due to be released later this month, and the timing could hardly be better.

Experts at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence say we will need as many as 97 new graphite mines by 2035 to satisfy an expected inflection in demand from the lithium ion battery and electric vehicle industries.

Any Tom, Dick or Harry could see we’re a long way from getting there, providing a runway for those operations like BlackEarth’s Maniry mine in Madagascar, that have a clear path to development.

BlackEarth (ASX:BEM) expects to start construction at Maniry in 2024, with the release of the feasibility study on the deposit, which boasts 2.58Mt of contained natural graphite, to pave the way for discussions on binding offtake contracts and final development permits and approvals.

A supply deficit in the graphite market is expected to begin as soon as 2023, with the timing enabling BlackEarth to capitalise on a surge in demand from the massive uptake of lithium batteries and a lack of investment in new graphite resources.

“Completion of the Maniry feasibility study will be a pivotal point for BlackEarth as it paves the way for execution of our three-pronged strategy to cash-in on the forecasted deficit of graphite production,“ BlackEarth managing director Tom Revy said.

“Once the definitive feasibility study is finished, we will move quickly to secure binding offtake agreements which will in turn enable us to push ahead with project development.

“We have a huge opportunity to benefit from the surge in graphite demand and prices which are expected to result from the ramp up of lithium battery production.

“Maniry is the cornerstone of our strategy and completion of the feasibility study will mark the start of the next chapter in our growth.”

Three-pronged strategy

The first part of that three-pronged strategy is already well on track, with BlackEarth’s Panthera expandable graphite processing JV in India on track for commissioning in the March quarter.

The plant is expected to take a portion of the coarse flake graphite concentrates produced at Maniry for non-battery purposes like fire retardants and foils.

It will process feedstock from third parties until Maniry is operating.

Meanwhile, a scoping study is already underway on heading downstream to produce battery anode material for lithium batteries using concentrate fines from Maniry.

Located in Europe, in the middle of what is currently the world’s second biggest EV market, the manufacturing plant would produce spheronised and purified graphite required in batteries.

The bedrock of all this will be the Maniry mine, which has been BlackEarth’s primary focus in recent weeks.

Revy has been in Madagascar updating government officials on its progress, including a meeting with Minister of Mines and Strategic Resources Dr Olivier Rakotomalala, who was appointed in March this year.

The study will include the key findings from BlackEarth’s financial and technical work, including geology, metallurgy, processing and marketing, along with an outline of projects to benefit the local community around the Maniry mine.

Successful drilling at the Razafy deposit has since increased mineral resources by 63%, with a total mineral resource of 40Mt at 6.5% total graphitic carbon.




This article was developed in collaboration with BlackEarth Minerals, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.