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Battery Minerals' financing confidence grows with graphite resource update

Battery Minerals Ltd. has grown its mineral resource across its Montepuez and Balama Central projects in Mozambique to 152.2 million tonnes at 8.5% total graphitic carbon, or TGC, for 13.03 million tonnes of contained graphite, which Managing Director David Flanagan says strengthens its case to finally close the chapter on its troubled path to secure debt funding.

The company also announced an increase in the total resource grade from 7.9% TGC to 9.5% TGC, at a 2.5% TGC cutoff.

The update was made on Oct. 18, having already updated mineral resources at its Elephant, Buffalo and Balama Central deposits, all of which will feed into Montepuez's implementation mine plan and Balama's feasibility study mine plan, which Snowden is currently preparing. Both are due in early November.

Flanagan described the latest update as a "step change in the quantity and quality" of the company's resource base, with Montepuez's contained graphite in the mineral resources category up by about 20% to 9.66 million tonnes from the January 2017 estimate.

Buffalo, at Montepuez, rose by 3.9 million tonnes to 42.6 million tonnes, with a grade increase of 1.6% TGC to 9.5% TGC at a 2.5% TGC cutoff; while its measured and indicated mineral resources rose from 18.5 million tonnes at 8.6% TGC to 22 million tonnes at 10% TGC. Elephant's mineral resources, also at Montepuez, rose 14% to 76.9 million tonnes at 7.3% TGC.

All of this supports Montepuez's updated mine plan targeting an uplift of roughly 12% TGC feed grade to the process plant.

Flanagan told S&P Global Market Intelligence that the results garnered from "very detailed drilling" gives the company "very high confidence" in its resources, which it believes is unique to its sector, and will help it deliver a very high conversion to reserves, and hopefully, a very high conversion to value.

"Producing a new resource means we can produce a new reserve and a new monthly mining plan for the life of the mine, then that goes into an economic model subject to due diligence of the financiers and their independent consultants."

"Now that we've got that, we would expect to very shortly have our new mining plan. This is a key milestone in getting to that point, and there will be more disclosure as we can feed that product specification — tonnes and costs — into a marketing plan, which will then go into revised operating costs, then we can speak to the flow sheet and execution strategy."

He revealed in September that Battery Minerals had already received indicative terms from some financial backers since Resource Capital Funds cancelled its US$30 million funding package for the junior in June, with the private equity firm saying at the time that the graphite market no longer met its investment criteria.