Mozambique - ASX-listed graphite explorer and mine developer Triton Minerals has updated its maiden October 2014 mineral resource estimate for the Nicanda Hill graphite deposit at the Balama North project in Mozambique.
The total Mineral Resource estimate comprises 1.44 Bt at an average grade of 11.1% total graphitic carbon (TGC), in accordance with JORC 2012 guidelines.
In addition to graphite, the mineral resource estimate reports an average grade of 0.29% vanadium pentoxide (V2O5), containing 4.22Mt of V2O5 classified as either measured mineral resources, inferred mineral resources or indicated mineral resources.
The most significant variances between the two mineral resource estimates comprise the initial measured resource 33Mt at 12.3%TGC, a 5% increase in overall TGC grade to 11.1% and a significant increase in the indicated resource: +66% at a 10%TGC cut off.
The resource upgrade, which was carried out by independent resource consultants Jorvik Resources, of Perth, Western Australia, reaffirms the Nicanda Hill deposit as the largest graphite and vanadium deposit in the world. The size of measured classified mineral resource is considered by Triton to be globally significant in both size and the average graphite grade, whilst continuing to reiterate the original fiscal strengths and reasons for developing this world class graphite deposit.
Since the initial mineral resource estimate for Nicanda Hill was released, Triton has completed as a part of the definitive feasibility study (DFS) work program, an additional 5 516m of drilling in 51 drillholes comprising 25 reverse circulation (RC) holes and 26 diamond holes.
The resource is now defined by a total of 21 864m of drilling in 148 drillholes comprising 86 RC holes and 62 diamond holes.
The main objective of this drilling, and as a key component of the DFS, was to establish a measured resource over the extents of the proposed pit design and aimed at the initial first 10 years of mining. The measured graphite resource at Nicanda Hill is also required by Triton in order to define proven and probable graphite ore reserves.
“The key objective of the 2015 drill program to define a JORC-compliant measured resource has been achieved,” says Triton MD and CEO Brad Boyle.
“This is a significant outcome for the company as the measured resource will form the basis of the initial ten years of the projected mine life at Nicanda Hill and will create the foundation for defining proven and probable graphite ore reserves at Nicanda Hill,” he says.
Boyle notes that the area in which the initial measured resource of 33 Mt at 12.3%TGC has been defined, represents a small fraction of the entire resource area. Triton is confident that the measured resource can be increased almost five-fold. However, increasing the measured component of the resource is not an immediate priority as the initial 33Mt is more than adequate for the projected first ten year’s life of mine.
Triton is also very pleased to note an overall increase in the average grade for both the graphite and vanadium from the original 2014 resource estimate and confirming the high quality nature of the deposit. The resource has been further and independently validated thus demonstrating the accuracy and robustness of the original 2014 mineral resource estimate, he says.
Triton believes that the upgrade in both classification and grade of the Nicanda Hill deposit further demonstrates the robustness of the original resource estimate from 2014. The large amount of resource now classified as measured, will form the basis of generating proven ore reserves as the project progresses through the DFS.
The confirmation of the world’s largest JORC-compliant graphite and vanadium mineral resource during the DFS at Nicanda Hill, demonstrates the true world class potential and the overall prospectivity of the Balama North project, to host both multiple high grade graphite and vanadium deposits.
While further work is progressing at the nearby P66 zone, which will potentially complement the economics of Nicanda Hill, Triton now looks to rapidly advance the Nicanda Hill deposit in order to commence graphite production as soon as practical.
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