In the past, political stability, the failure to implement a new mining code and outdated tax policies put paid to any attempt to grow Madagascar’s mining sector. Now, under the leadership of President Andry Rajoelina, there is a concerted effort to grow the sector and take advantage of its rich mineral wealth.

That is why developments at LSE-listed Tirupati Graphite have my attention this week.

Tirupati Graphite is advancing two primary flake projects – Vatomina and Sahamamy – in the east African country. Last week, the company announced the commencement of its Stage II exploration and drilling programme at both its key projects.

In addition, the company also announced that SRK Mining Services (India) will oversee the Stage II programme and update and upgrade its current mineral resource statement.

The programme will target enhancing the global resource base by increasing geological confidence in areas currently categorised as indicated and inferred mineral resources. It also aims to establish additional mineral resources in areas previously identified by SRK as exploration targets and open extensions.

The programme will run over six months across both Vatomina and Sahamamy and will include c.10 000 m of auger drilling; c.1 000 m of trenching, and c.5 000 m of diamond core drilling.

Read: How Madagascar is rebooting its mining sector

Cost effective and time efficient

Speaking about the announcement Shishir Poddar, CEO of Tirupati Graphite, said, “In line with our rigorous step by step strategy, we continue to multitask work programmes and progress the development timelines of our primary flake graphite projects in Madagascar in a cost effective and time efficient manner across our portfolio.

“Through engaging SRK to oversee the implementation of our Stage II Programme, as well as aid us in carrying out a Resource Definition Exploration Programme, we have committed to enhancing our mineral resource base at Vatomina and Sahamamy, which will further underpin our ambitious development plans for our primary operations in Madagascar.  
“We feel confident that SRK’s expertise and professionalism will allow us to take advantage of the previously identified exploration targets and open extensions in order to establish additional mineral resources at the projects.”

Madagascar has been producing graphite for over 100 years and is renowned for hosting some of the highest quality graphite deposits in the world. Tirupati Graphites commitment to developing two key projects bodes well for the country and could be the start of making Madagascar a key African mining destination.