Quantum improves Uley outlook

QUANTUM Graphite has completed an update of its mining study and reserves estimate for Australia’s oldest graphite mine, Uley in South Australia, paving the way for the company to finalise its delayed definitive feasibility study.
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Haydn Black

Reporter

Reserves are now 4.03 million tonnes grading 11.89% total graphitic carbon, including a proved 811,000t at 11.66%.
 
It follows a 117% increase in measured resources earlier in the year to 6.3Mt at 11.1% for 697,000t TGC.
 
The company said its Uley 2 plan to revive and expand the mine has "solid economics" lower operating costs than other mines.
 
The mining study forecasts operating cash flows of A$207 million assuming a grade of 11.89% over the life of the mine, from feed of 500,000t per annum.
 
Recoveries are expected at 84%, producing a 94% pure graphitic carbon concentrate.
 
The development would cost $80 million to get off the ground, but costs should easily be below $100/t compared to an expected product price of $1313/t.
 
"The building blocks have now fallen into place," chairman Bruno Ruggiero said this morning, and all the major technical inputs are complete for next month's DFS.
 
The DFS is expected to improve the overall economics of Uley with optimisation works beyond the base case.
 
Ruggiero, a founding partner of Lycopodium, said the company could now advance funding discussions.
 
Marketing is also underway with customers that previously expressed an interest in flake graphite in 2014.
 
Uley has been in mothballs since Valence Resources slumped into voluntary administration three years ago, after suspending operations at the underperforming mine in late 2015. 
 
The blame was sheeted home to a lack of professional project management techniques, inadequate scoping of work and poor selection of consultants.
 
Until its suspension, Uley was Australia's only operating graphite mine.
 
Valance was recapitalised as Quantum in September 2018, and has traded between 0.1-0.4c since.
 
The stock last sold at 0.2c, valuing the company at $15 million.
 
The company had cash of $184,785 at October 31, but has since sold its Uley pilot plant for $150,000.