For Volt Resources Ltd and its flagship Namangale graphite project – now the largest graphite resource in Tanzania – timing has benefitted the ASX-listed explorer.
Volt is focused on its 100% owned Namangale graphite project which consists of 2,000sq km of tenements in the southern part of Tanzania, close to the deep water port of Mtwara.
It was in July 2016 that everything changed for Volt when it announced unprecedented flake graphite distribution, with 81.3% super jumbo, jumbo and large flake graphite categories contained within its 214mt resource at 5.1%.
Following the result up in August, Volt confirmed world first results with a total contained graphite of up to 99.6% purity.
Namangale now hosts the largest graphite resource in Tanzania at 446.2mt @ 5.01% graphitic content.
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Now Volt has found itself in the enviable position of right commodity, right country – and right time. Not content with these exceptional results, Volt sent sample to an independent German laboratory.
Results received on the 17 November 2016 confirmed that Namangale graphite flake concentrate produced battery-grade graphite of 99.99% TGC.
“From the test work we have done so far, we have been able to demonstrate that we have a very high proportion of large flake, jumbo and super jumbo. They are the highest priced flake components. Compared to many of our peers, we have a very large percentage of graphite which is in those categories,” Volt chairman Stephen Hunt said.
“The flake size all relates back to the price you can get for your product. Larger flake sizes are in relatively short supply, hence higher demand and higher price.”
The test work also confirmed the commercial suitability of Namangale graphite flake concentrate for a wide range of downstream applications, including spherical graphite, expandable graphite, graphite foil, refractory and lubrication products.
Backed by these outstanding results, Volt is now negotiating MOU agreements to supply the super jumbo flake graphite to end users having already signed some of China’s largest players in the sector – including Optimum Nano, China’s third largest battery manufacturer.
“I was blown away when I was in China by the level of demand for lithium-ion batteries and hence graphite, it was quite amazing, largely brought about by the government legislation that has taken place there,” Hunt said.
“We all know about the pollution in China and this is a driver of lithium battery demand. The Chinese authorities can see that electric cars in particular is one way to combatting the problem. China is talking about taking five million electric cars being on the road by 2020, with 3 million cars being built every year by 2025.”
Lithium-ion batteries are quickly being adopted as the solution to storing clean electric energy and powering motor vehicles. Despite what the name suggests, Lithium-ion batteries actually contain seven to ten times more graphite than lithium itself.
EAS Advisors – the Eddie Sugar led corporate advisor – has recently started working with Volt. Famous for securing the initial funding for Fortescue Metals, Sugars and EAS Advisors have earned a reputation building resource small-caps like Volt in their early stages.
“Eddie and his team in New York have been a tremendous help to us. We are in contact pretty much on a daily basis, helping us with our corporate activities. EAS Advisors has introduced us to a selection of potential investors in New York, London and Europe. We are very grateful for their assistance and we see that they will be very important going forward too,” Hunt said.
The company is currently working on a pre-feasibility study (PFS), due for completion at the end of 2016. While the results are unknown, Volt believes the PFS will return robust results and lead the company straight in to a bankable feasibility study in early 2017.
“We all feel that is has been a very successful year for Volt Resources. It has been an extremely high growth phase, looking at what we have achieved even in a six-month time frame. We now have a project that we believe will be very viable. We have enough finance in place to carry us through well in to next year and we are developing the right team to support Namangale,” Hunt said.