- BlackEarth Minerals’ share price up over 100% in the past six months
- BlackEarth is currently exploring and reviewing several downstream value-added graphite processing opportunities.
- The Company holds advanced mining projects in Madagascar and base metal prospects (Ni-Cu-PGE) in Western Australia.
- BlackEarth’s high-grade Maniry Graphite meets industry specifications and has applications across expandable, Li Batteries and Refractory industries.
- Graphite is witnessing strong market potential due to responsible supply risk and its economic importance.
The recent months have panned out well for the critical commodity explorer BlackEarth Minerals NL (ASX: BEM) as its shares continued to edge higher on the Australian stock market. BEM stock exhibited a price momentum of over 1.38x in the past six months, closing at $0.047 on 11 November 2020.
The stellar performance of BEM stock reverberates the ongoing developments and encouraging potential that the commodity explorer and developer has been leveraging through its diversified project portfolio. Significantly, BlackEarth is currently exploring and reviewing several downstream value-added graphite processing opportunities.
At the same time, advanced mining projects in Madagascar and base metal prospects (Ni-Cu-PGE) in Western Australia appear to boost the Company’s exploration endeavours.
With this backdrop, let us explore a host of factors that are not only driving the impressive performance of BEM but also complementing and catalysing the Company’s journey ahead.
Maniry’s High-Grade Graphite Resources
High-Grade Graphite Conforming Industry Standards
The Company holds the Maniry Graphite Project, which is in Southern Madagascar. The Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS) is currently underway at the project and the focus is on value-added products which are witnessing high demand.
Graphite from BlackEarth’s Maniry project complies with the requirements needed for its usage in different industries
Kalkine Image, (Data Source: BEM ASX Update, 4 November 2020)
Maniry has a project life of 10 years with annual graphite production averaging 30ktpa in Stage 1 (Years 1-3) and 60ktpa in Stage 2 (Years 4+).
Graphite concentrate produced from the processing of Maniry Project’s Graphite includes fine or small flake, mid-sized flake and coarse flake. While all the flake sizes find application in various industries, the Company is mainly focused on coarse flake and is investigating high-value products. The project hosting 260-380Mt at 6-8% TGC (Total Graphite Content) also exhibits robust project economics.
Kalkine Group 2020, (Data Source: BEM ASX Update, 4 November 2020)
Booming Market Potential for Graphite
Graphite is a critical commodity owing to responsible supply risk and its economic importance.
Growing focus on achieving Graphite Resource Security
As per European Commission Critical Raw Materials Resilience, access to resources and sustainability is considered critical for ensuring the resilience of EU concerning raw materials. The resource security can be achieved through supply diversification from both primary and secondary sources along with reduced dependencies and improve resource efficiency and circularity.
The shifting concerns towards the future sustainability of supply amidst the growing supply risk garner greater attention towards graphite and other critical raw materials.
Significant Economic Relevance
According to Critical Minerals and U.S. Public Policy, graphite constitutes as one of the 14 critical minerals upon which the United States is 100% import reliant. Significantly, the minerals are difficult to substitute inputs into the U.S. economy and national security applications.
Graphite holds significant relevance to organisations, and the decrease in the material production of coarse flake in China creates a further market potential for the critical commodity. There yet remains a gap between investors and end-users / governments on the understanding and importance of natural graphite on future sustainable economics. Nevertheless, its criticality to future needs is unquestionable.
Charting Out Growth for Maniry Project
BlackEarth is progressing further development into the potential downstream processing of coarse flake material which would significantly increase the revenue of the project.
The Company has planned exploration in the Maniry’s high-grade northwest zone, with early high-grade feed to enhance NPV/IRR of the project significantly.
BlackEarth undertaking flowsheet optimisation would further improve recovery of the coarse flake material, thereby also increase the revenue of the project.
Additional offtake arrangements would further enhance the confidence of the project.
Completion of BFS next year would underpin subsequent stage project execution (EPC/EPCM)
Significant Advancement of Donnelly River Prospect
Located around 240km south of Perth in Western Australia, the Donnelly River Prospect of BEM is situated immediately adjoining the Thor and Odin Ni-Cu-PGE prospects of South West Project.
Massive sulphide was intersected from a drill program at CHN/VMS JV’s Thor prospect, averaging 0.5%Cu with 0.05% Ni, 0.04% Co and anomalous Au & Pd. Meanwhile, Odin prospect intersected Ni and Cu sulphides within a highly prospective mafic-ultramafic unit, extending over a 10km strike.
(Image Source: Kalkine, Data Source: BEM ASX Update, 4 November 2020)
In the next 3-4 months, the following activities and developments are expected.
Maniry Graphite Project
- Maniry pilot plant update
- Exploration activities at Razafy NW with a focus on adding high-grade resources
- Downstream value-added product development works concerning coarse flake
- Continue BFS activities
- Continue offtake arrangement discussions
Donnelly River (Ni-Cu-PGE)
- Complete regional geochemical sampling and VTEM
- Identification of drill-ready targets