Tirupati Graphite acquires Suni graphite projects in Mozambique

Tirupati has added the Suni Resources graphite project in Mozambique to its existing graphite flake and downstream businesses in Mozambique and India, the UK-based company said on Monday April 3

Suni Resources was a subsidiary of Australian Stock Exchange-listed Battery Minerals. The sale to Tirupati Graphite included all of the Suni assets in Mozambique relating to the Australian company’s Montepuez and Balama Central projects.

The acquisition was agreed with the issuance of 10,046,556 of Tirupati’s ordinary shares at £0.025 (US$0.0311) each to Battery Minerals, covering A$9.75 million (US$6.59 million) at an issue price of £0.526 per ordinary share in two equal tranches, as well as a payment of A$5,428.14 in cash at completion.

The mining license for the Montepuez project covers JORC 2012 mineral reserves and resources of 119.60 million tonnes with the right to build a flake graphite production project with capacity for 100,000 tonnes per year, in two stages of 50,000 tpy each.

Following a definitive feasibility study, Battery Minerals had already started construction of facilities for the first 50,000 tpy flake graphite production module.

The Balama Central project has JORC 2012 mineral reserves and resources totalling 32.9 million tonnes and a license to mine and build the project to 58,000 tpy of flake graphite production.

Flake graphite from Montepuez and Balama Central is of fine grade and is used as feedstock for the graphite anode market.

“With the global need for critical minerals increasing, the flake graphite market is forecast to reach 5 million tpy of new demand by 2030,” Tirupati executive chairman Shishir Poddar said. “This acquisition positions Tirupati at the forefront of the market and enables us to accelerate the production of these materials [which are] essential to energy transition.”

Fine graphite flake material currently has a price discount to the large flake sizes that dominate in Tirupati’s Madagascan projects, because it is less common and more difficult to produce.

Fastmarkets assessed the price of fine graphite flake, 94% C, -100 mesh, cif Europe, at $740-760 per tonne on March 30, and the price of large graphite flake, 94% C, +80 mesh, cif Europe, at $1,180-1,245 per tonne on the same day.

“Importantly,” Poddar said, “through acquiring the Balama Central and Montepuez projects in Mozambique, we are diversifying our locations, providing access to a new region as well as providing buyers with an additional source of graphite outside of China, where global supply is currently heavily concentrated.”

Mozambique is also home to Syrah Resources’ Balama natural graphite project. The company sold 160,000 tonnes of flake graphite in 2022, primarily to the battery market, and has capacity to produce 350,000 tpy, according to its results statement.

Tirupati hoped to be able to provide 8% of the estimated global demand for flake graphite of 5 million tpy by 2030.

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