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International Graphite unveils massive resource upgrade

Updated: May 20

International Graphite chairman Phil Hearse, left, and OmniGeoX geologist Darren Sparks. Credit: File

International Graphite has more than tripled the size of its mineral resource at the company’s Springdale graphite project near Hopetoun to a whopping 49.3 million tonnes at 6.5 per cent total graphitic carbon (TGC).

The impressive new resource also includes a grade increase from the previous figure of 15.3 million tonnes at 6 per cent TGC, with 11.5 million tonnes at 7.5 per cent TGC in the indicated category.

Management believes the resource is the second-largest known graphite deposit in Australia, with 3.2 million tonnes of contained graphite. And it prompts an interesting comparison with the resource known as the biggest – Rensacor Resources’ total reserve of 61.8 million tonnes at 7 per cent TGC at its Siviour deposit in South Australia.

To think that Rensacor has a market cap of just under $350 million, followers of International Graphite will be salivating at the prospect of where the company’s $30 million market cap could end.

Admittedly, Rensacor’s deposit is a proven reserve, while International Graphite is still working through the category gears.

International Graphite has placed a total of 37.8 million tonnes grading 6.1 per cent TGC in the inferred category. When applying a cutoff grade of 5 per cent TGC, the mineral resource estimate comes in at 28 million tonnes going 8.7 per cent TGC, with 7.9 million tonnes grading 9.3 per cent TGC in the indicated category and 20.1 million tonnes at 8.5 per cent TGC in the inferred category.

Notably, the company says its impressive resource upgrade has been delivered with only about 10 per cent of the tenement area explored to date and some 20 per cent of its exploration targets tested.

About 10 per cent of the new resource has come from drilling at the operation’s new graphite discovery at Mason Bay, 2km east of the main Springdale deposit.

We set out to upgrade the existing Mineral Resource and expand it. To expand it by almost three-and-a-half times, improve the overall grade, and have over a quarter now classified as Indicated, is testament to a well planned and executed program by our technical team. International Graphite managing director and chief executive officer Andrew Worland

The company’s drill program included 12 diamond drillholes (DD) and 261 reverse-circulation (RC) drillholes for 20,574m. The resource estimate includes drilling undertaken prior to International Graphite’s ownership, which consisted of 32 DD holes and 129 of combined RC and air-core (AC) holes for 9533m. Overall, the estimate includes 30,107m at an average depth of 69m per hole.

The Springdale project is a near-surface, potentially open-pit mining operation that is strategically located on WA’s south coast and offers a well-developed infrastructure of roads and ports.

The company plans to process its Springdale-sourced ore at its Collie processing facility, about 450km from the deposit. The procedure will allow it to transform the raw graphite material into a substance appropriate for use in the construction of lithium-ion batteries.

Management says the graphite mineralisation at Springdale is fine flake and ideally suited to a streamlined flowsheet producing a single concentrate feedstock for downstream processing and the lithium-ion battery market.

Just last month, the company received the green light from the WA Government for the construction of a new graphite micronising qualification plant at Collie, with the equipment due to arrive at the end of this month. It says the custom-built plant is a significant improvement on its pilot processing plant that was commissioned a year ago.

With an impressive mineral resource upgrade and significant scope for further growth, in addition to a new qualification plant that will also be able to progress testwork on Springdale graphite due in just weeks, International Graphite appears to be well on its way to becoming WA’s first mine-to-market graphite producer.

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