Bass' Graphmada project on right cost and quality trajectory

GRAPHITE producer Bass Metals says the future for its operations in eastern Madagascar looks better today, with data from its stage one operations flagging improvements for stage two.
Bass' Graphmada project on right cost and quality trajectory Bass' Graphmada project on right cost and quality trajectory Bass' Graphmada project on right cost and quality trajectory Bass' Graphmada project on right cost and quality trajectory Bass' Graphmada project on right cost and quality trajectory

Bass wants to get more of this graphite ore into the market

Haydn Black

Reporter

Bass' feasibility studies into the expansion of its Graphmada project has provided it with a pathway to improve its products at the processing level.
 
It has now identified a pathway to split and screen its stage two concentrates into saleable volumes that can maximise the value of products it intends to ship and sell.
 
Recent testing in Germany has confirmed that the screening and packaging throughput rates seen during stage one can be exceeded, while also delivering efficiencies and cost savings.
 
Bass said the results demonstrated that all Graphmada's products, from fine flake to large flake concentrates, were produced within specification at high throughput with no material flake size degradation.
 
The work suggests rates up to 20,000 tonnes per annum using a single screening unit are possible.
 
Bass plans are to install two units for up to 40,000tpa.
 
Its studies into downstream processing technologies that will be incorporated within the expansion of operations also showed it can deliver specifically-sized feedstocks for customers.
 
Recently completed tests with a prospective partner, US-based Urbix Resources, which showed graphite could be purified to above 99.9% for the >180-micron flake class, and 99.7% for the >300-micron class.
 
Material of that purity is ideal for advanced materials, such as expandable graphite.
 
It is hopeful of installing Urbix's purification circuits, which do not use acid-based recovery processes, at Graphmada. 
 
Additional studies on the project expansion are examining paths to cost reduction, particularly power consumption, which accounted for 47% of operating costs last year.
 
Madagascar's electrification program could see Graphmada hooked up to hydro-electric grid power by 2024, which could reduce C1 costs by 30%.
 
The timing of the €204 million program, funded by African, European and Asian development banks works well with Bass' expectations of a demand uptick for graphite in 2023.
 
Bass boss Tim McManus said the company continued to field significant interest in its concentrates as over the 18-month-long first stage it established sales channels in all key markets, and delivered cargoes on time, with no quality concerns.
Exploration efforts are also continuing to confirm continuing mineralisation between the Mahela and Loharana deposits, and potentially its new Mangabe discovery.
 
A resource update is planned before the end of the year.
 
The company, which secured A$2.85 million via deeply discounted placement at 0.25c mid-year, has also recommenced the process of obtaining strategic investment in the company for stage two.
 
Bass shares were up 33% in afternoon trade to 0.4c, valuing the company at $16 million.
 
Shares in the junior have fallen substantially since it reached 3.3c in mid-2018. The stock has traded between 0.02-0.08c over the past year.