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Graphex Mining updates Chilalo Graphite Project PFS with improved economics

Proactive Investors Thursday, 20 September 2018
Graphex Mining Ltd (ASX:GPX) has delivered an updated pre-feasibility study (PFS) for its Chilalo Graphite Project in Tanzania. The results of the study confirm that Chilalo is a high-margin graphite project and demonstrate substantial improvements in the project’s economics compared to the PFS Graphex completed in 2015. With a mining licence and key permits in place, the project is positioned for development subject to the resolution of outstanding issues with Tanzanian legislation and completion of funding arrangements. The company started a 3,000-metre diamond drilling program in July, aiming to upgrade Chilalo’s inferred resources to a higher classification, the results of which are expected to underpin the bankable feasibility study. ‘Compelling’ economic outcomes Graphex managing director Phil Hoskins said: “Following substantial improvements to Chilalo’s product specifications and the continued strength in coarse flake graphite pricing, the economic outcomes of this study are compelling. “Completion of the updated PFS represents an important milestone towards an investment decision by potential financiers, who have identified Chilalo as an outstanding project in the graphite sector. “Our efforts remain firmly focused on meeting the due diligence requirements of the financier and continuing to work with the Tanzanian government to address key legislative and regulatory issues.” Two-stage production scenario In the updated study, Chilalo would move forward under a two-stage production scenario with a proposed open pit operation and a plant for simple comminution and flotation processing. Stage 1 would produce around 58,000 tonnes of graphite product per year for the first 2 years of operation and a stage 2 expansion beginning in year 3 would produce around 104,000 tonnes per year. Graphex is confident it can sell 104,000 tonnes per annum of Chilalo graphite from the beginning of production but has chosen a staged approach to minimise upfront capital. Graphite product will be transported to and shipped from the deep-water commercial port of Mtwara, around 220 kilometres by mostly-sealed road from Chilalo. Minimum 6.3-year mine life Pre-production capital expenditure for stage 1 – including contingencies – is estimated in the PFS to be around US$43.6 million. Stage 2 capital expenditure of around US$32.5 million is expected to be funded from free cash flow. The average life-of-mine operating cost is around US$479 per tonne, with freight on board at Mtwara Port. Chilalo is expected to have a 6.3-year mine life, based on the current ore reserves, or an 8.5-year mine life based on the increased life-of-mine case included in the updated PFS.
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