Modern Mining March 2023
Lindi Jumbo on-track for year-end graphite production As Tanzania’s pioneer graphite mine developer, Walkabout Resources, hurtles towards first production from the Lindi Jumbo project, it does so at a most fortuitous time just as demand for graphite outstrips supply and prices for the critical metal soar, CEO Andrew Cunningham tells Modern Mining in an exclusive interview. By Nelendhre Moodley .
W alkabout Resources’ 100%-owned high grade Lindi Jumbo Graphite Mine is located some 460 km from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s capital, within the highly prospec tive Mozambique belt, known for its world-class, coarse flake graphite deposits. Citing London-based price reporting agency, Benchmark Mineral Intelligent’s latest report, Cunningham says that to keep apace with soaring demand, the industry would need to establish 97 new graphite mines, each producing 56 000 tpa of graphite concentrate, in the next 12 years. This gives the soon-to-be-miner, first mover advantage in a highly lucrative race. Demand for graphite is largely driven by appetite from the electric vehicle (EV) market and, although the EV market share is still small compared to tradi tional vehicles, this is likely to change in the coming years as major economies transition away from fossil fuels and rapidly move into clean energy. Graphite is essential to the development of lithium batteries and is the largest component in lithium-ion
batteries by weight, with each battery containing as much as 20-30% graphite. In fact, an electric car contains more than 90 kg of coated spherical puri fied graphite. “The price of small graphite flakes,” says Cunningham, “is extremely robust at the moment and, as of the last week of January, traded at $895/t”. It is rapidly closing the gap on the
price for the larger flakes (trading at up to $2000/t), which is propitious for the Lindi Jumbo project as the high-grade deposit is skewed towards jumbo flakes (75% above 180 microns or 80 mesh i.e., large flakes). “Around a quarter of the graphite from the Lindi Jumbo project is small flake size, which means that the majority of our premium product will trade at the top end of the price range.” On the back of strong demand for smaller flake size, the price has jumped by over 30% in the past
Construction underway at the Lindi Jumbo mine.
12 MODERN MINING March 2023
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