Perth-based graphite exploration and development company, BlackEarth Minerals NL (ASX: BEM) is focused on delivering shareholder value by fast tracking its flagship graphite project in Madagascar, in order to take advantage of natural graphite shortage projected by 2023/24.
The Company intends to commercialise its product for key graphite markets – expandables, refractories and batteries. And, the recently completed first stage pilot work program has highlighted improvements in final product grades and graphite recovery. China-based Beijing General Research Institute of Mining & Metallurgy (BGRIMM) is undertaking the two-stage study, finalising all process engineering related matters as part of the Company’s definitive feasibility study (DFS) into the project.
To know more, do read BlackEarth Minerals Appoints BGRIMM for Finalising Maniry Graphite Ore Testing.
Stage 1 Testwork – BEM Crosses A Milestone as it Advances towards its Vision
Under this stage, the institute tested an initial sample of Maniry graphite material weighing 250kg that was collected from the trial mining test pit, in order to confirm data produced in previous test work by ALS Perth.
For ALS Perth results, click here.
This stage was also targeted towards optimising process flow, industrial equipment selection, reagent systems, and process operating conditions for the second stage.
The testwork program included –
- Head assay analysis.
- Process mineralogy.
- Batch flotation testwork to confirm flowsheet to maximise flake preservation while achieving the target grade of >95% TGC. The work included primary and secondary grind size, reagent type and addition rate, and floatation time.
- Flotation cleaner optimisation covered number of stages of regrind and flotation, regrind time, and regrind media.
- Confirmatory locked cycle testing of established flowsheet
- Bond Rod Work Index.
- Preliminary concentrate filtration and tailings thickening test work.
- Initial equipment selection.
Test work findings
Coarse grain size - Using a combination of optical microscope, scanning electron microscope and XRD, the institute carried out mineralogical investigation, with investigation of the dissemination size of graphite highlighting the graphite grain size as coarse, primarily distributed between 0.043mm and 0.295mm. Moreover, 69.93% of the graphite is within the +0.074mm fractions.
Graphite particle liberation - Results indicated that additional stage grinding will benefit finer graphite recovery and grade.
Flotation test work - The test work confirmed the following basic flowsheet could achieve the target grade >95% TGC in all concentrate size fractions.
- Primary Rod Milling and rougher flotation
- Secondary Ball Milling and scavenger flotation
- Multiple regrind stages (6) combined with 7 stages of cleaner flotation with no interstage screening.
Locked cycle testing – This testing was performed after the open circuit batch testing, with the results highlighting an overall graphite recovery of >95% and concentrate produced. Moreover, initial equipment selection was confirmed.
Stage 2 Testwork - Supporting DFS and Binding Offtake Arrangements
Following the successful completion of the first stage, BGRIMM will now undertake the stage 2 test work program, with completion targeted in the second quarter of 2020.
During this large-scale pilot program, the institute will test approximately 60 tonnes of Maniry graphite ore, targeted towards confirming and optimising the Maniry flow sheet, finalising equipment specifications, establishing scale up factors, and generating sufficient material required for market end user testing to finalise legally binding offtake arrangements.
The Company is targeting to complete the definitive feasibility study into the project in the last quarter of 2020.
BEM stock inched upward by 24.324% on 8 April 2020 to close the day’s trade at $ 0.046. The Company with approximately 113 million outstanding shares has a market cap of $ 5.19 million. The last one-month return of the stock is around 41%.
Interesting Read: BlackEarth Minerals’ Stock Zooms Over 59% Today, Do You Know Why?
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