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Malingunde shows high potential for graphite

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AUSTRALIAN Stock Exchange listed Sovereign Metals, currently exploring graphite at Malingunde graphite project in Lilongwe, says the project has demonstrated very strong commercial potential which is centred on low operating and capital costs.

The company estimates that deposits at the site could last 17 years.

Graphite is the most stable form of carbon under standard conditions and is used in thermo chemistry as the standard state for defining the heat of formation of carbon compounds.

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Natural graphite is mostly consumed for refractories, batteries,steel making, expanded graphite, brake linings, foundry facings and lubricants.

According to a scoping study Sovereign Metals conducted recently, the project is said to have a pay-back period of two years, based on a through put of 475,000 tonnes per year.

According to the study, the project will cost $29 million to develop. The project is estimated to have total operating costs of around $301 per tonne of concentrate, placing it at the bottom of the graphite supply cost curve.

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Sovereign Metals Managing Director, Julian Stephens, said the scoping study clearly demonstrates the project’s very strong commercial potential which is centered on very low operating and capital costs, and revenues derived from a premium product.

“Importantly, t h e project is not reliant on an unrealistically large scale to reduce operating costs or overly optimistic graphite pricing forecasts.

“The very low operating cost nature of the project provides protection even against extreme downside pricing scenarios,” Stephens said.

He observed that the combination of low operating costs, low capital costs and high-quality concentrates enabled the company to focus on initial entry into existing primary end-markets, including refractories and foundries, allowing product to compete on price point with China.

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