After listing publicly on the ASX in January, BlackEarth Minerals (ASX: BEM) have moved quickly on their maiden project with the first round of assay results returning ‘high grade’ classification from their 100% owned Maniry Project in Madagascar. “The Company is very pleased with these results as it places the Project in the ‘high grade’ category of global graphite developers,” said BlackEarth Minerals Managing Director Tom Revy.
Results from the first set of drill holes returned and average TGC (Total Graphite Carbonate) of 7.82%. These results were confirmed in the high grade classification and are higher than those at the nearby Molo Project which has a resource grading of 6.13% TGC. “It gives us an enormous amount of confidence moving forward in terms of what’s there and reaffirms the strategy that we’ve adopted to get this into cash flow as soon as possible.”
Led by a Board and executive team of graphite experts, BlackEarth’s focus on sourcing only high value graphite is coming to fruition rapidly via their aggressive drill schedule. This has the Company on track to announce a maiden JORC resource by mid-2018. Key to BlackEarth’s focus on sourcing high grade large flake graphite is the commercial opportunities associated with the higher grades targeted. “A lot of people who aren’t blessed with high grades will tell you that grade is not important and its in fact to do with minerality and ultimately what products you can produce,” said Revy. “But if you look at costs and want to produce 50,000 tonne of concentrate per year, then you can imagine having a grade of 10% rather than 5% means you only have to treat half as much dirt which obviously impacts your operating costs.”
With growing demands for electric vehicles globally, car manufacturers continue to scramble for lithium-ion batteries. On May 3, Volkswagen confirmed an order for $48billion worth of lithium-ion batteries. Tesla founder Elon Musk has also stated that lithium-ion batteries “should be called nickel graphite batteries” because the batteries use ten times the amount of graphite as they do lithium.
Having targeted high grade graphite at their Maniry Project, Revy has received guidance from the nearby Molo Project despite BlackEarth’s results returning higher TGC. “End users have tested the Molo material and it has been deemed suitable for anodes, ala lithium-ion batteries, and we believe our material is very very similar.” “There is a very high probability that our material will mirror those exact same results so we’re certainly given a lot of confidence by a lot of information flow around us which will be a focus for us, as well as the expandables industry which is another market which commands a very high price for large flake [graphite], which we know we have.”
Drilling is to be completed at BlackEarth’s Razafy site next month as they continue momentum towards a planned maiden JORC resource announcement mid-2018.
You can view Tom Revy’s full results summary as a video recording here.
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