Modern Mining March 2023

note that participants in the graphite industry do have a good handle on the sales price of graph ite and associated supply demand fundamentals. Information related to prices and graphite supply and demand is readily available, with several consultan cies regularly reporting on the market. Companies in the mining industry, such as Walkabout Resources, subscribe to these consultancies for a weekly update on key aspects, like graphite prices.” Meanwhile, the Australian-based minerals devel oper is in discussions to raise a further $10m for the completion of the final stages of project. A major portion of the $10m will be used to pay for the final pieces of equipment manufactured and in storage in China, the electrical and instrumenta tion component of the project, completion of onsite

year. And given that demand for graphite is forecast to outstrip supply, starting in 2023, Cunningham expects the price of graphite to skyrocket. “The Lindi Jumbo project will deliver 40 000 tpa of graphite concentrate, which is a substantial amount in a market currently delivering ~1 mtpa of graphite concentrate,” he says, adding that the graphite mar ket is dominated by Chinese production. Funding Lindi Jumbo Graphite project Walkabout Resources recently faced funding chal lenges, following the delay in debt drawdown from CRDB Bank in Tanzania, which saw the company raise A$16.6 million to ensure the continuation of the construction of the Lindi Jumbo mine. “Even though our preference is to fund our graph ite project from debt, we took the equity route to ensure that contractors were paid and that the proj ect remained largely on-track. The major portion of our project has, so far, been funded out of equity. It is interesting to note that graphite players, such as Syrah Resources, which is operating its Balama graphite mine in Mozambique, and NextSource Molo graphite project in Madagascar, have both had their projects funded out of equity.” Despite graphite being in high-demand and the outlook for the commodity being highly favourable, a lack of understanding of the graphite market, especially by investors who view it as an opaque market without pricing transparency, has negatively impacted the ability of junior miners to access fund ing in order to take their projects from inception through to completion. “However,” says Cunningham, “it is important to

The company has undertaken a few blasts onsite to expose the open pit.

Loading and hauling taking place at the mine.

March 2023  MODERN MINING  13

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