HomeEast AfricaBass Metals takes over operating graphite mine in Madagascar

Bass Metals takes over operating graphite mine in Madagascar

The acquisition of the mine from Stratmin Global Resources (SGR) positions Bass Metals as the only company listed on the ASX currently producing and selling graphite concentrates.

The transition follows approval by the shareholders of SGR on 29 July 2016 for the acquisition of the Graphmada graphite mine.

As part of the operational transition, Bass Metals has already implemented a number of improvements to the Graphmada operation subsequent to its own extensive due diligence and resultant broad consultation with various experts.

These include the vibrating magnetic separator shown below being installed at the mine site. Fabricated on site, the separator provides improved quality assurance of the saleable product post drying.

This low-cost improvement draws on the experience of local personnel and demonstrates the company’s practical approach to operations management.

Additional improvements will be implemented later this year as part of a major overhaul and plant refurbishment programme, focusing on raising the quality and volume of saleable product, subsequently delivering a consistently higher-value product.

Bass Metals has engaged Perth-based Independent Metallurgical Operations (IMO) which has already visited the site, conducted metallurgical test work and will subsequently advise the company on the selection of an optimal plant configuration.

The objectives of the IMO work is to increase throughput, recoveries and purity, while reducing sustaining capital and operating costs.

The company has also engaged South African consultant Scientific Design to assess the replacement of the existing wood-fired rotary dryer, which dewaters the final graphite concentrates.

Scientific Design will perform test work to identify more energy efficient drying methods that will better preserve flake size, crucial to received concentrate price.

One of alternative drying systems being assessed may use liquid propane gas (LPG) for heat generation in the drying process. This will significantly reduce the operation’s environmental impact by removing the existing wood-fired oven.

The potential installation of LPG infrastructure could also enable the use of gas-fired power generators and consequentially provide a reduction in operating costs.

In preparation for its overhaul programme, bulk samples have been shipped to both South Africa and Australia.

Bass Metals will continue to provide operational updates to the market as the major improvement and refurbishment program progresses and operational changes are implemented.

Bass Metals CEO, Tim McManus says the company is pleased that, in a short period of time, they have been able to scope and implement changes at Graphmada.

“We continue to be excited by the upside at Graphmada in applying experienced, well-funded and modern management to a mine with a proven premium product,” he says.

Continued development and rapid implementation of the major improvement and refurbishment programme will see Graphmada transformed into a significant supplier of graphite into traditional markets with the capacity to expand into high growth markets.