Northern Graphite has announced the results of a new PEA that evaluated moving the processing plant for its Namibian operations located at Okorusu to the Okanjande mine rather than rehabilitating the mill in its current location.
The PEA indicates that economics remain attractive under the new plan, with higher capital costs but lower operating costs. In addition, GHG emissions are reduced, sustainability is improved, and the expansion potential of the project is substantially enhanced.
The PEA, issued July 31, 2023, was prepared by CREO Engineering Solutions, and confirms the viability of moving milling operations directly to the Okanjande mine site, which eliminates the cost of trucking mineralized material 70 km to Okorusu.
This allows for a more sustainable operation that also includes the use of solar power and lower water consumption.
“Moving the mill also provides room for potential future expansion from the perspective of both processing and tailings capacity, which is something we do not have at the current location,” said Northern COO Kirsty Liddicoat.
“The new approach also incorporates dry tailings into an integrated waste landform which means less water use and a more sustainable operation in support of the green transition,” she added.
The company is also looking at other ways to reduce its carbon footprint after the plant move, including the use of electric pit equipment and purchasing biofuel offsets on shipping concentrates from Namibia.
The Okanjande/Okorusu operation is currently on care and maintenance and the goal remains to restart production in late 2024, subject to financing.
The Okanjande graphite mine is a key catalyst in Northern’s strategy to become an integrated and sustainable mine-to-battery company, supplying markets in North America and Europe as they embrace the energy transition and widescale electrification.
Graphite from Okanjande will also supply traditional markets, from refractory bricks for steelmaking, to heat management in consumer electronics, to friction and lubrication products for the global automobile industry.
“This PEA supports our strategy to develop Okanjande as a competitive asset that can be available to meet the demands of our customers in years to come,” said Northern CEO Hugues Jacquemin.
“Our new mining plan at Okanjande will allow us to move quickly to serve the fast-growing market for battery anode materials and increase our ability to expand the facilities over time.”
The Okanjande deposit hosts a weathered resource of 5.9 Mt containing 248 kt of graphite in the measured and indicated category and 0.5 Mt of inferred resources containing 17 kt graphite, a transitional resource of 1.2 Mt containing 53 kt of graphite in the measured and indicated categories and 0.1 Mt of inferred resources containing 2 kt of graphite (@2.6% TCG cut-off grade and $1,250/t graphite price for weathered and transitional) and a fresh rock resource of 24.2 Mt containing 1.3 Mt of graphite in the measured and indicated categories and 7.2 Mt of inferred resources with 0.4 Mt of contained graphite (@3.1%TGC cut-off grade and $1,250/t graphite price).
The PEA is based on only processing 6.1 Mt of measured and indicated resources (.34 Mt of contained graphite), producing an average of 31,000 tpa of concentrate over a 10-year LoM.
“The substantial measured and indicated hard rock resource at Okanjande, which is not yet closed off by drilling, presents a clear opportunity to substantially increase production in the future and the Company intends to complete additional work and prepare a new PEA with respect to an expansion scenario,” said Liddicoat.
“The ability to add 31,000 tpa of production at a very reasonable capital cost creates a compelling case for the development of Okanjande,” said Jacquemin.
“Okanjande has a very large resource located in one of the most politically stable countries in Africa, with easy access to a deep-water port which provides substantial competitive advantages over most other African projects.
Source: Mining Review Africa