The latest metallurgical results from the Merelani East project, the second graphite project in line for development by Kibaran Resources, certainly give plenty of grounds for optimism. Testing has confirmed high distribution of large flake graphite with very high grade carbon concentrates recovered from simple flotation. That means the quality of the graphite is good and that the means of extracting it from the ore looks relatively straightforward.
Specifically, more than 32 per cent of the concentrate delivers flake greater than 300 microns, known as Jumbo flake, and overall recoveries are running at 97.1% grading 96.2% total graphite contained.
The same work programme has also doubled the strike length at Merelani East to over four kilometres. The indications now are that Merelani East hosts a substantial near-surface graphite occurrence.
The implications of all this could be quite significance, as Merelani East now looks to be the equal in size and grade of the original Merelani workings to the west, which haven’t been mined for a couple of decades, but which Kibaran is also now in the process of acquiring.
That old mine still retains significant infrastructure and, more to the point, permitting, so it ought not to be too much of an uphill struggle to get an operation going on the wider Merelani proposition once the necessary preliminary work has been done and once the integration of Merelani block C has been completed.
But for now though, the focus remains on the Epanko project to the south, where advanced economic studies are nearing completion and which has also recently been the subject of an upgrade to the planned eventual output.
Major traders in graphite have already demonstrated serious interest in Kibaran’s eventual output, both from Epanko and Merelani, and off-take agreements are already in place.
There’s plenty of work to be done yet, but Kibaran is gradually edging closer to its goal of putting Tanzania firmly on the map as a major producer of the world’s graphite.