IM Graphite News in Brief 4 – 10 September

By Laura Syrett
Published: Thursday, 10 September 2015

Kibaran upgrades resource at Merelani East; Rosatom decommissions uranium-graphite reactor from Russia’s first nuclear power plant; Haydale teams up with Huntsman to develop graphene resins.

ASX-listed Kibaran Resources Ltd has upgraded its JORC mineral resource estimate for its Merelani East graphite deposit in Tanzania. The total measured and indicated resource now stands at 17.7m tonnes at a 6.5% total graphitic carbon cut-off.

The revised estimate points to a contained graphite content of 1.14m tonnes, with 500,000 tonnes in the indicated category.

Kibaran, which recently completed a bankable feasibility study on its Epanko graphite project, also in Tanzania, said that the upgrade supports the company undertaking a pre-feasibility study on Merelani East. An environmental and social impact assessment is already underway on the Merelani-Arusha project.

Nearby, fellow Australian explorer Black Rock Mining Ltd has said it is on track to deliver a maiden JORC resource at the Epanko North prospect by the end of this year.

The company recently completed an infill drilling programme at the site, which returned assays of up to 12.15% C. Further drilling is underway at Black Rock’s Ulanzi and Cascade prospects, where the company said that visibly high-grade mineralisation has been observed.

ASX-listed Magnis Resources Ltd has been awarded a special mining licence for its Nachu graphite project in Tanzania from the country’s Ministry of Energy and Minerals.

The company said that the licence was a key approval that would allow it to move forward with finalising funding arrangements for the further development of the project.

Magnis’ chairman, Frank Poullas, said that the company was looking forward to concluding a mineral development agreement for Nachu with the energy and minerals ministry in the near future.

Also in Tanzania, ASX-listed Mozambi Resources Ltd has completed geological mapping over its Chiwata graphite prospect.

Results from the mapping indicate that graphite mineralisation extends up to 4km and remains open along strike. The company expects to commence airborne electromagnetic surveys over the area this month.

Previous assay results from Chiwata confirm the presence of flake graphite with an average grade of 7.9% C.

In Russia, the country’s state nuclear energy agency Rosatom has become the first company in the world to decommission a commercial uranium-graphite nuclear reactor, according to a report by Russia Beyond the Headlines.

According to the news service, Rosatom’s Experimental Demonstration Centre in Moscow successfully decommissioned the dual purpose reactor, El 2, which was put into service in Russia’s first nuclear power plant in Siberia’s Tomsk-7 restricted zone in 1958. The work was supported by research centres affiliated to the Russian Academy of Sciences, which together developed unique technologies for decommissioning uranium-graphite reactors.

El 2 was shut down in 1990 and were followed by the closure of a number of other uranium-graphite reactors. Consequently, several reactors in Russia are in the process of decommissioning.

High purity graphite is used to moderate nuclear reactors, owing to its dimensional changes, thermal conductivity and electrical resistivity properties.

The Brazilian government this week initiated a circumvention review on of anti-dumping duties levied on graphite electrodes from China.

The duty affects graphite electrodes with diameters up to 450mm (18 inches), of any length, whether machined or not, assembled or not, used in electric ovens.

According to a report by antidumpindpublishing.com, two countries, the UK and the UAE, are alleged to be importing non-machined graphite electrodes and transforming them into machined ones, before shipping them on, thereby attempting to circumvent anti-dumping controls.

Electrode exporters in these countries will receive questionnaires from the Brazilian authorities and given 20 days to respond.

In graphene news, UK-based graphene developer Haydale Graphene Graphene Industries Plc subsidiary Haydale Composite Solutions Ltd has signed a letter of intent with Switzerland-operating Huntsman Advanced Materials Plc as the first step in agreement to jointly develop and commercialise graphene-based resins.

The agreement envisages Haydale functionalising graphene nano platelets using its proprietary HDPlas process in order to add them to Huntsman’s ARALDITE resins to create a highly loaded masterbatch.

The companies intend to target the graphene-based resins at a range of applications in the composites market.

Finally, the UK’s University of Manchester has been awarded a £3m ($4.6m*) research grant to develop breakthrough applications for 2D materials.

The five year grant from the charity Lloyd’s Register Foundation will be used by the university’s National Graphene Institute to examine how single-atom-thick materials could be used to make specialised materials tailored to applications such as flexible optical electronics, energy harvesting, gas separation and water desalination.

IM’s 5th Graphite & Graphene Conference will be held on 8-9 December at the Waldorf Hilton in London. For more information, contact Peter Gilfillan peter.gilfillan@metalbulletin.com.

*Conversion made September 2015