Madagascan graphite explorer and developer BlackEarth Minerals NL (ASX: BEM) recently released its activities report for the quarter ended 30 September 2019, unveiling continued activities directed towards fast-tracking the development of its wholly owned Maniry Graphite Project in southern Madagascar.
During the three-month period to September, the Company completed a bookbuild and secured investment commitments for $ 1.68 million before costs, by issuing ~28 million new fully paid ordinary shares at $0.06 per share. The bookbuild completion was made through the newly appointed corporate advisor, Peloton Capital Pty Ltd.
The funds raised from the placement completed on 29 August 2019 are to be used to fast-tracking the company’s Maniry and Ianapera graphite projects in Madagascar, with the proceeds being applied to bulk trial mining and the export of ore to a pilot plant, pilot trial, bankable feasibility study related activities/consultants/contractors and working capital.
With respect to its flagship graphite project – Maniry, BEM made significant progress in terms of securing government support, achieving encouraging results from ore sample tests and also received positive feedback from manufacturers of anode material and spherical graphite during the quarter.
BCMM Support for Maniry Graphite Project
The September quarter brought more good news for BEM including full support from the Madagascan Department of Mines (BCMM), after the company discussed several key elements with Madagascan Minister of Mines and Strategic Resources, Mr Fidiniavo Ravokatra.
BEM Managing Director, Tom Revy, briefed Minister Fidiniavo Ravokatra regarding:
- Development schedule and expenditures incurred to date on the project;
- Estimated personnel needs during construction and in operations;
- Project development plan;
- Environmental management plans;
- Involvement in social and community activities.
Encouraging Metallurgical Results from BGRIMM
Beijing General Research Institute for Mining and Metallurgy (BGRIMM), a China-based R&D and engineering service institute, shared encouraging results from metallurgical high-level test work on a sample of Maniry ore.
The institute confirmed the presence of a high distribution ratio of large flakes in graphite ore owned by BlackEarth Minerals NL. Additionally, BGRIMM secured a high recovery of graphite from the tests and a high level of fixed carbon content. According to the institute, the fixed carbon content can even be further improved through optimising processing and technical parameters.
Spherical Graphite Market Specifications
The industry average of spherical graphite production yields is 40%; however, yields achieved with the testing on concentrate from the Maniry Graphite Project stands at 52%. Dorfner ANZAPLAN (Germany) undertook a detailed program targeted towards testing the Maniry concentrate.
- The program was aimed towards targeting the optimised conditions for producing a spherical graphite product from a flake graphite flotation concentrate, for the battery industry;
- The program found that the measured values for samples following optimisation were in the range of typical comparable products;
- This observation was also confirmed after Chinese spherical graphite producers and anode material manufacturers shared positive feedback.
Key characteristics of some of the critical elements that the manufacturers of lithium-ion anode material require have been given in the image below.
More on the observation can be read here.
BEM recently shared graphite concentrate samples from the project with potential Chinese offtake partners, operating in the expandables, battery anode and high-end refractory markets. The Chinese players will undertake test work on the samples, targeted towards confirming the suitability of the concentrate for use in their respective markets.
All the above-mentioned developments are of utmost important to the company, as it is moving ahead with its plan to execute offtake agreements.
During the remaining period of FY2019, the company plans to focus on its southern Madagascan graphite projects - Maniry and Ianapera, with major focus on advancing the Maniry graphite project DFS over the coming months.
September Quarter Cashflow Report
During the reporting period, BlackEarth Minerals applied $563,000 to operating activities, and cash inflow through financing activities stood at $1.58 million. At the end of the September quarter, BEM had cash and cash equivalents of $2.39 million. For the next quarter ending 31 December 2019, BEM has estimated $799,000 in cash outflows.
BEM 2019 AGM
The company is scheduled to hold its annual general meeting on 29 November 2019 in West Perth, Western Australia. The following resolutions will be considered during the meeting:
- Resolution 1 – Adoption of remuneration report (non-binding)
- Resolution 2 – Re-election of director (Philip Hearse)
- Resolution 3 – Approval of additional 10% placement facility
- Resolution 4 – Ratification of previous share issue under ASX Listing Rule 7.1
- Resolution 5 – Ratification of previous options issue under ASX Listing Rule 7.1
- Resolution 6 – Issue of future placement shares
- Resolution 7 – Director and senior management fee and remuneration sacrifice share plan
The stock of BEM closed the day’s trading at $ 0.048 on 28 October 2019, with a market cap of $ 5.42 million and approx. 113 million outstanding shares.
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