Munglinup Graphite Project
The Munglinup Graphite Project lies along the border of the shires of Esperance and Ravensthorpe on Western Australia’s Fitzgerald Coast approximately 640km southeast of Perth by road. The Project is 4km north of the township on Munglinup on the South Coast Highway, 107km west of Esperance and 81km east of Ravensthorpe.
The Project is close to the Port of Esperance which handles bulk grain and mineral exports and currently supports the export of nickel concentrates and iron ore from mining operations in Western Australia. Esperance has a regional airport with 3 flights per day to and from Perth. The flight time is approximately one and a half hours. The Project is 610km by road from the Port of Fremantle, from which it would export its graphite concentrate product.
A Pre-Feasibility Study (“PFS”) was completed in May 2018 and the financial metrics from the PFS demonstrated robust project economics. Munglinup Graphite Project Pre-Feasibility Study.
Following completion of the PFS, MRC made the decision to proceed directly to a Definitive Feasibility Study (“DFS”) based on the same project sizing as developed during the PFS. Munglinup Graphite Project Definitive Feasibility Study.
Geology and Resource/Reserve
The Munglinup graphite deposits occur as discrete layers in a zone of graphitic schists within a sequence of hornblende and hornblende-garnet gneisses. The rocks have been broadly folded about a WNW/ESE axis, with superimposed minor anticlinal and synclinal flexures. Complex small-scale folding and faulting is common in the relatively incompetent graphitic rocks and the enclosing competent hornblendic gneisses appear to be less deformed.
Targeted graphitic mineralisation occurs within saprolite consisting of clays, quartz, graphite (up to 42% flake) and goethite. Weathering extends down to at least 60m.
MRC has undertaken two additional drilling programs and re-estimated the Mineral Resource since acquiring the Project. The latest Mineral Resource (2020) has been prepared in accordance with the 2012 JORC Code and is estimated at 7.99 million tonnes at 12.2% Total Graphitic Carbon (“TGC”) using a 5% cut-off and Ore Reserve of 4.24 million tonnes at 12.6% TGC.
The Munglinup resources are open along strike and at depth. Past exploration has been focused near surface and has been driven by targeting quick, easy to mine deposits. MRC has undertaken the Xcite™ Airborne Electromagnetic system survey over the Munglinup project in March quarter 2022, which is a new generation of helicopter-borne time-domain electromagnetic systems. The strong electromagnetic conductors indicate there are many conductor trends that remain undrilled that represent target areas. Twelve new target areas for graphite mineralisation have been identified, with seven adjacent to previously drilled graphite mineralisation (Priority 1 and 2) and five new zones of increased conductivity (Priority 3).
Traditional truck and hydraulic excavator operation during day shift, on a 5/2 roster. Run of Mine (“ROM”) operations will continue 24/7 and be owner operated, managed by the process plant. This arrangement will reduce noise/light issues and be more attractive to potential employees. This will also enable employees to reside in Esperance and operate on a daily bus-in/bus-out plan.
Annual material movement is planned to be limited to 3.5Mt per annum for the first three years of operation then reducing to a maximum of 3Mt per annum.
A 480kg bulk run produced a concentrate with a distribution close to that achieved i the smaller bench scale tests. The coarse flake fraction contained 48.6% of the mass with a TGC grade averaging 95.8%. The fins accounted for 51.4% of the mass with a TGC grade averaging 96.0%.
Munglinup is on a designated Mining Reserve with the Mining Lease granted until 2031. Following directions from the WA Environmental Protection Authority (“EPA”) and the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, MRC is moving to complete all EPA and EPBC Assessment studies for the finalisation of permitting.
It is anticipated that the EPA and EPBC approvals for the project will be completed in December quarter 2022.
The environmental permits are the only remaining approvals required before commissioning the Project.
On receipt of final approvals and completion of marketing agreements, the Company anticipates proceeding to a Final Investment Decision before construction and commissioning.
The Company is also assessing the construction of downstream, purification, micronisation and spheronisation plant to value add to the Munglinup concentrates.