Sovereign Metals Limited (ASX:SVM) has revealed an updated resource of 45.7 million tonnes at 7.2% TGC (total graphitic carbon) for its Malingunde Project in Malawi.
The updated resource provides the basis for a future low-capex and low-opex natural flake graphite operation focused on the soft saprolite (clay)-hosted component.
It is worth noting that Malingunde is the world’s largest reported soft saprolite-hosted graphite resource.
Reduced processing costs compared to hard rock deposits
The high-grade saprolite and saprock component of 14.5 million tonnes at 9.70% TGC occurs within 35 metres of the natural ground surface.
Sovereign’s upcoming pre-feasibility study (PFS) is focused on this high-grade saprolite and saprock component.
The company’s metallurgical test-work confirmed that the blended saprolite (85%) and saprock (15%) material does not require primary crushing or grinding, providing the potential for substantially reduced processing costs compared to hard rock deposits.
Inherent low-opex, high-margin potential
Importantly, all planned mining inventory is within 35 metres of surface and will be free-digging with very low strip ratios, with the potential for very low mining costs.
Sovereign’s managing director Dr Julian Stephens said: “The ability to process a blend of saprock along with the very soft saprolite allows a ~60% increase in high-grade, low-cost material that Sovereign will consider as part of the Malingunde PFS.
“With this exceptional resource base, the company will now progress rapid completion of the PFS, leveraging the project’s inherent low opex and high margin potential.”