Tirupati Graphite plc, the fully integrated, revenue-generating, specialist graphite producer and graphene and advanced materials developer, is pleased to provide an update on activities at its primary graphite mining and processing operations at the Sahamamy and Vatomina projects in Madagascar.
· Continued developments focused on increasing capacity to 84,000 tpa by 2024 at its two projects.
o Sahamamy: commenced area grading and work for the second 18,000 tpa module to take capacity to 21,000 tpa in Q1 2022.
o Vatomina: on track to commission upscaled 9,000 tpa operations over the next three weeks.
· Progressed construction activities for the 100Kw hydro power plant and advancing plans for an additional c.900Kw hydropower capacity.
· Continuing second stage exploration programmes at both projects, targeting an upgrade and update of the existing mineral resources and delineation of new mineralised zones.
Shishir Poddar, CEO of Tirupati Graphite, said, ” We are extremely pleased with our progress as we look to build capacity at our primary operations to 12,000 tpa in the immediate term and enhance it to 30,000 tpa Q1 of 2022. Having historically established a >50% operating margin with a c.US$835/- basket price realisation from the current 3,000 tpa capacity operation in Sahamamy, we believe that the enhanced capacity will go a long way towards reaching our goal of being profitable at the corporate level. On a wider level, this is part of our strategy to become a key supplier of this critical material and develop advanced materials that contribute to the mitigation of climate change.”
Tirupati continues to advance its operations across its portfolio including primary mining and processing projects in Madagascar and speciality graphite and graphene processing businesses in India. In Madagascar, the Company is focused on increasing capacity at its two projects, Sahamamy and Vatomina, to 84,000 tpa by 2024 to take advantage of strong demand for its products. Notably, despite some procurement and shipment delays, the Company has made advances to this strategy without any material impact by the second wave of Covid in both India and Madagascar.
At Sahamamy, the first fleet of new earthmoving equipment has arrived, facilitating commencement of area grading and work for the second 18,000 tpa module (see RNS 16 April 2021). Various infrastructure development activities, such as enhancing base camp capacity, strengthening internal roads and water supply and similar pre-development activities, are also ongoing. Additionally, at Vatomina, the installation of plant equipment for the upscaled 9,000 tpa operations (see RNS 4 January and 8 February 2021) is in its final stages with commissioning and production initiation expected to commence over the next three weeks.
Construction activities are also progressing for the 100Kw hydro power plant at Sahamamy (see RNS dated 8 March 2021), which remains on track for completion in Q4 2021, with equipment including a new turbine and generator, penstock, and electrical controls, ordered. The Company hopes to meet 100% of its power requirements for 30,000tpa capacity using hydro power and to this end, it is also advancing studies for an additional c.900Kw hydropower capacity.
Finally, the current second stage exploration programmes at both Sahamamy and Vatomina continue (see RNS dated 18 February 2021) with circa 900 metre diamond core drilling, circa 4,500 metre augur drilling and 31 test pits with 135 metres cumulative depth completed across both projects. Current augur drilling has delineated new mineralised zones and diamond core drilling continues with a target to upgrade the existing mineral resources. A new diamond core drilling machine has been ordered for Sahamamy to facilitate commencement of its drilling activities simultaneous with drilling at Vatomina.
Tirupati Graphite Plc is a revenue-generating, multi-asset, multi-jurisdictional, fully integrated producer and developer of high-grade natural flake graphite, speciality graphite and graphene and graphene enhanced advanced materials. With a unique set of properties, graphite has diverse applications with multiple growth streams and graphene forms the new generation of 2D and advanced materials. The Company places a special emphasis on “green” applications, including renewable energy and energy efficiency, energy storage, thermal management, and advanced materials development, and is committed to ensuring its operations are sustainable as well.
The Company’s operations include primary mining and processing in Madagascar, where the Company operates two key projects, Sahamamy and Vatomina; 3,000 tpa of high-quality flake graphite concentrate with up to 96% purity is currently being produced and sold to customers globally. An additional 9,000 tpa capacity is expected to be commissioned in Q3 2021, and this is planned to increase to 84,000 tpa by 2024 as per the Company’s modular medium-term development plan.
In India, through Tirupati Speciality Graphite Private Limited (‘TSG’), with whom the Company has a binding acquisition agreement subject to regulatory approvals, Tirupati is developing a suite of speciality graphite for use in hi-tech applications like lithium-ion batteries, fire retardants, thermal management, and composites. Its current operations include the 1,200 tpa Patalganga Project, which was commissioned in July 2019 to manufacture and sell CARBOFLAMEX®, a trademarked fire-retardant expandable graphite product. TSG is further developing 30,000 tpa specialty graphite project in two equal size modules and has developed unique green processing technologies for manufacturing these advanced materials.
TSG has also established and continues to develop the Tirupati Graphene and Mintech Research Centre, a state-of-the-art R&D centre focussed on manufacturing graphene, developing its applications and advanced materials using graphene, and further providing environmentally friendly technologies consultancy for mineral processing.
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