This was achieved during FEED (Front End Engineering Design) process being undertaken in China by Black Rock’s Chinese EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) partner Yantai Jinyuan Mining Machinery Ltd.
Yantai successfully replicated work completed in Canada by SGS Lakeshore Laboratories by delivering a 99%+ TGC concentrate at lab scale from oxide ore.
Importantly, the results were achieved without secondary leaching or any chemical intervention.
Samples are being subjected to detailed multi-element analysis to better understand the deportment of gangue minerals prior to an optimisation program to be conducted over the next couple of weeks.
On delivery of a final flowsheet and metallurgical plan, Yantai will conduct a 20-tonne pilot plant at associated facilities to validate the optimised design flow sheet under continuous operation.
The recommended flow sheet will be reviewed and approved by CPC Engineering and Design who completed the Mahenge DFS, prior to final authority to operate the pilot plant.
Pilot plant operations are scheduled to commence at the end of March 2019.
During operation of the pilot plant, selected potential investors and new and existing offtake partners have been given the opportunity to review plant performance and perform further independent due diligence on plant operation and concentrate attributes.
On successful operation of the pilot plant, Yantai Jinyuan and Black Rock will seek to enter into an EPC contract for delivery of plant, process and infrastructure equipment and installation for the Mahenge Graphite Project.
Black Rock chief executive officer John de Vries said: “Being able to demonstrate the efficacy and performance of our Mahenge ore to deliver the world’s highest grade concentrates, by our Chinese partners, is a significant step in validating our credentials in our most important offtake market.
“The operation of a pilot plant in front of investors and our offtake partners is a novel step in project financing, however leaves absolutely no doubt as to expected asset and product performance, which we are confident of achieving.
“We believe this process will support price discovery based on transparent product parameters.”
Vries added: “We are absolutely delighted with how the three way relationship between Black Rock, Yantai Jinyuan Mining Machinery and CPC Engineering and Design has matured.
“The levels of cooperation and strategic planning provides me with a lot of confidence in our ability to deliver in full, on time and to specification.
“We continue to see interest in financing Mahenge. Solid progress on de-risking our project delivery and awarding of the Mining Licences will support continued progress to developing a funding solution for Mahenge.”