Blencowe moving to complete PFS on Priority Project by mid-year as precursor to implementing First Graphite Production from 2023
· Blencowe acquired world class Orom-Cross graphite project less than 2 years ago; has been on fast-track development towards production ever since.
· Extensive infill drilling programme was completed in 2021 to provide updated JORC Resource estimate for use within Pre-Feasibility Study (“PFS”)
· Phase Three Metallurgical test work near completion to provide fact sheets to users on end products and process flows to achieve them
· Work underway in all facets to deliver high quality PFS by mid-year target date
Blencowe Resources (“Blencowe” or the “Company”) is pleased to provide an update on its ongoing Pre-Feasibility Study at its priority Orom-Cross graphite project. Orom-Cross is a substantial graphite deposit with an estimated 2-3 billion tonnes, of which the first 20 years life of mine has already been drilled out. However the deposit is so vast that this represents less than 1% of the estimated graphite within the tenements. Furthermore, the graphite is shallow and Blencowe will be mining to just 25 meters which means low cost mining from a free dig open cut operation.
The Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”) for Orom-Cross (completed September 2021) provided the basis for a large scale 75,000tpa graphite operation, however Blencowe has indicated that it will scale this down in the early years to allow for a lower risk, lower capex start-up, around 25,000tpa of high grade concentrate. There will be provision for ramping this plant size and production rate up quickly over the first ten years to accommodate what is expected to be a surge in demand for flake graphite, predominantly for use within lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles (EVs).
The Company is working closely with its specialist technical partner Battery Limits to deliver a low cost mining operation that will put Orom-Cross in the lowest percentile of worldwide graphite producers, which not only provides more margin and earnings but also de-risks the operation significantly. Low capital costs to implement and low operating costs once in production are massive advantages to any mining operation.
Currently Blencowe is awaiting the revised JORC Resource estimate for Orom-Cross, based on the extensive infill drilling programme from 2021, and its geological partner Minrom will provide this update shortly. This JORC Resource is expected to increment the 16Mt at 6.0% TGC that was announced to market in 2021 and provide additional tonnes that can be utilised for a much longer mine life than previously indicated in the PEA. In parallel work is being completed on Phase Three metallurgical test work to refine the end products that will be delivered as concentrate from Orom-Cross, and these results are also expected shortly. Phase Two met test work indicated a high quality array of end products that should be sought after in the market, and Phase Three is expected to underline this further by confirming the marketable characteristics of the different mesh size products and producing concentrates for consumer testing prior to pilot plant production .
One of the key additions within the PFS (from the 2021 PEA) is the expectation that Blencowe will deliver a pilot plant by 2023 in order to product small quantities of these same end products to pre-qualify sales into end users. This is seen as a necessary and integral step in order to sell higher quantities of graphite concentrate from 2025 onwards when the main plant is expected to be commissioned.
Furthermore, Blencowe is also looking at all options to deliver green graphite products via a project that leans heavily on renewable energy and other sustainable components. This is seen as a very important objective within the PFS and the strategy moving beyond.
All other areas within the PFS are going to plan, with work underway on all key areas including infrastructure, energy, roads, water, tailings, logistics, sales and marketing, plus plant and camp design.
Cameron Pearce, Blencowe’s Executive Chairman commented;
“Blencowe is moving quickly to establish itself as a producer of premier grade green graphite products, delivered at a low operating cost to both de-risk and to ensure highest possible margins. The PFS is exploring all options, including a pilot plant from 2023 as a precursor to the main plant commissioned by 2025. Graphite demand is forecast to expand considerably from 2025 onwards and Blencowe wants to be positioned by then not only as a producer but also ready and able to expand quickly and cost-effectively to take advantage of growing worldwide demand. Events in Eastern Europe over the past month have underlined the importance of supply chain diversification and we aim to provide a high quality alternative supply route for a key battery metal, within a low risk location.
We have also recently added a highly prospective nickel sulphide project into our portfolio as well, to further expand our upside.”
We have come a long way in the 2 years since we acquired Orom-Cross, and the upswing in demand that we are seeing for the products we will produce has fully justified our strategy. The next important step will be to provide the market with a clear picture of what our production plans ahead look like, including pre-qualification of sales into end users over a longer period so they can all fully understand the characteristics of the products we will deliver prior to expansion into full production mode.”
For further information please contact:
Blencowe Resources Plc
Tel: +44 (0)1624 681 250
Tel: +44 (0) 7891 677 441
Tel: +44 (0)20 7100 5100
First Equity Limited
Tel: +44(0)20 7330 1833
Orom-Cross Graphite Project
Orom-Cross is a potential world class graphite project both by size and end-product quality, with a high component of more valuable larger coarse flakes within the deposit. A 21-year Mining Licence for the project was issued by the Ugandan Government in 2019 following extensive historical work on the deposit and Blencowe is moving through the Feasibility Study phase as it drives towards first production targeted for 2023.
Orom-Cross presents as a large, shallow open-pitable deposit, with a maiden JORC Indicated & Inferred Mineral Resource deposit of 16.3Mt @ 6.0% Total Graphite Content. Development of the resource is expected to benefit from a low strip ratio and free dig operations, thereby ensuring lower operating and capital costs.
Akelikongo Nickel Project
Akelikongo is a highly prospective nickel sulphide exploration project that has previously had considerable work completed by Rio Tinto and Sipa to establish three mineralised lenses to date. It represents an opportunity for Blencowe to add further value through a targeted work programme that will seek to delineate higher grade and thicker intercepts of nickel.
Nickel sulphide deposits are rare and valuable and the prospect of further exploration success gives Blencowe suitable incentive to develop this asset under a structured earn-in agreement, whereby 100% of the asset can ultimately be acquired for US$1.5m, all payable in shares.