Modern Mining

A Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) by ASX-listed Walkabout Resources (WKT) for a proposed open-pit mine and graphite processing plant at its Lindi Jumbo graphite project in Tanzania was released to the ASX in February this year. Following the subsequent Tanzanian legislative changes and further metallurgical testwork, WKT has released an update to the DFS.

Lindi DrillingDrilling at the Lindi Jumbo project in Tanzania.

The Updated DFS has been modelled employing only the ore reserve published to the ASX in April 2017. This reserve contains proven and probable ore reserves of 5 Mt at 6,13 % TGC for 809 kt of graphite concentrate and comprises 42 % of the measured and indicated resources only.

The DFS has been updated with all available new information to date. In general, this is in four key areas: the effects of the Tanzanian amendments to the Mining Act 2010; an updated capital estimate provided by Jinpeng Mining and Material Co Ltd as part of the contractual submissions for developing EPCM & F documentation; updated and more reliable metallurgical results; and a minor adjustment to the modelling payback schedule as per the updated funding plan.

Project start-up capital has been reduced from US$38,7 million to US$29,6 million, a saving of US$9,1 million. The pre-tax NPV10 is now US$302 million as against the previous US$320 million while the pre-tax IRR has increased from 96 % to 108 %.

The weighted average (Base Case) basket price of product is reduced to US$1 564 per tonne from US$1 687 per tonne as a result of a modified metallurgical product mix.

Walkabout says detailed engineering and planning has progressed very well over the past six weeks and continues in Yantai in China. Provisional approval for partial stage funding has been granted by the project funding partners, CNBM General Machinery Co Ltd, and this allows Jinpeng Mining and Materials Co Ltd to proceed with engineering design and project management.

Final equipment selection has taken place following the completion of the optimisation test work at Beijing General Research Institute for Mining and Metallurgy (BGRIMM) in Beijing.

A large-scale closed-circuit test-work campaign was undertaken by BGRIMM, which is one of China’s key research facilities and reportedly has world leading expertise in graphite extraction. BGRIMM also has a manufacturing division that is the main supplier of attrition milling and froth flotation equipment to the Chinese graphite industry.

The sample selected for the BGRIMM testwork was high-grade surface ore (32 % TGC), from the area where mining is planned to commence. This sample was very similar to the Surface Composite Sample tested at Nagrom Laboratories in Perth in July 2016. After due allowance for fines recovery differences, the BGRIMM and Nagrom results are very similar.

However, Walkabout has decided to moderate the life of mine ratios for Super Jumbo, Jumbo and Large flake sizes in order to mitigate potential process risk. The company says the yield of +500 um flakes is still the highest in its peer group and points out that the fresh material makes up more than 80 % of the mining reserve.

The Lindi Jumbo project is situated in south-eastern Tanzania, approximately 200 km from the export port of Mtwara.

The DFS was based on an annual production of 40 000 tonnes of graphite concentrate with a high grade feed to the plant of <300 000 tonnes per annum

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