ASX-listed Sovereign Metals’ updated mineral resource estimate provides the basis for a future low capex and low opex natural flake graphite operation focused on the soft saprolite (clay)-hosted component.
Malawi – The latest confirmed figures for the Malingunde graphite project include:
- Saprolite + Saprock MRE (Measured, Indicated & Inferred):
45.7 Mt @ 7.2% TGC (4.0% TGC cut-off, 81% Measured + Indicated)
- including High Grade Component:
14.5Mt @ 9.7% TGC (7.5% TGC cut-off, 88% Measured + Indicated)
Recent metallurgical test-work has also confirmed that a blend of saprock can be processed along with the very soft saprolite material, enabling Sovereign Metals to access additional soft mineralised material not previously considered in its 2017 scoping study.
Malingunde is the world’s largest reported soft saprolite-hosted graphite mineral resource where 81% of the total mineral resource (>4.0% TGC) and 88% of the high-grade (>7.5% TGC) component is now classified as measured or indicated.
The high-grade component of 14.5 Mt at 9.7% TGC (saprolite + saprock) will provide the focus for the Malingunde PFS; a significant increase in tonnage driven primarily by inclusion of saprock material.
Metallurgical test-work has also confirmed that the blended saprolite (~85%) and saprock (~15%) material does not require primary crushing or grinding, providing the potential for substantially reduced processing costs compared to hard rock deposits.
All planned mining inventory is within 35 m of surface and will be free-digging with very low strip ratios, with the potential for very low mining costs.
“The ability to process a blend of saprock along with the very soft saprolite allows a ~60% increase in high-grade, low-cost material that Sovereign will consider as part of the Malingunde PFS. With this exceptional resource base, Sovereign Metals will now progress rapid completion of the PFS, leveraging the project’s inherent low opex and high margin potential,” says Dr Julian Stephens, Sovereign Metals’ MD.