Sovereign Metals Limited (“Sovereign”) (ASX: SVM) is focused on the development of the Malingunde Graphite Project located in Malawi, near the capital city Lilongwe.
The Malingunde Graphite Project has the potential to be a very low cost graphite operation, targeting best in class margins and very low CAPEX, enabling entry into traditional and developing graphite markets, including refractories and lithium ion batteries.
The Malingunde project was discovered in 2015 by Sovereign’s in-country geological team using hand auger drilling techniques in an area of no outcrop. The deposit is located just 15km SW of Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital city, and has access to enviable infrastructure. It is 25km from operating rail, 20km from a major power sub-station and has plentiful fresh water sources nearby.
The Malingunde deposit is hosted within weathered, soft saprolite (clay) material. Saprolite-hosted flake graphite mining operations, similar to those in China and Madagascar, usually have significant cost and environmental advantages over hard rock mining operations due to:
- Low mining costs: Free-digging material with very low strip ratios
- Low processing costs: Simple processing, generally with no primary crushing and grinding circuit resulting in large capital and operating cost advantages
Sovereign’s 2017 scoping study confirmed Malingunde’s significant cost advantages over peers, with the OPEX in the lowest quartile and a very low CAPEX. Sovereign released its Pre-Feasibility Study in November 2018 on the project and is currently in discussions with a number of potential off take parties regarding the supply of low-cost, high-quality natural flake graphite.
Soft saprolite drill core
Drilling at Malingunde