Syrah Signs Sales Agreement for Balama Graphite

Syrah Resources has signed a binding sales agreement with Qingdao Taida-Huarun New Energy Technology for graphite from its Balama project in Mozambique.

Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) has signed a binding sales agreement with Qingdao Taida-Huarun New Energy Technology for graphite from the company’s Balama project in Mozambique.

The agreement, set to begin immediately, is for 20 kilotonnes (kt) of natural graphite and is to be received from Balama by August 31, 2019. All other terms of the agreement have been kept confidential.

“This contract is another demonstration of Syrah’s Balama graphite product penetration into China and the battery anode material market. It is also pleasing to see the significant volume of spot sales translating into this type of quality longer term commitment, as the sales book continues to evolve,” Syrah Managing Director and CEO Shaun Verner said in a statement.

“Syrah is establishing Balama product as a baseload for battery anode materials and other industrial specialty applications and we look forward to a successful relationship with Taida,” he added.

Qingdao is based in Shandong, China, and has a focus on research and development, along with the production of carbon materials like spherical graphite for battery anode materials.

While Balama saw first natural flake graphite production in November 2017, the project just had its mining agreement finalized by the Administrative Court of Mozambique in late September.

The agreement, made between the government of Mozambique and Syrah subsidiary and Balama operation holder Twigg Exploration and Mining, covers the mining of both graphite and vanadium at the operation, and is valid until 2038.

Production at the operation took a hit in early October after a fire broke out at the processing plant’s primary classifier unit. In late October, Syrah announced that a replacement had arrived on site and a return to full production remained on track.

On Wednesday (November 7), the day after Qingdao deal was announced, Syrah said that the classifier unit had been installed and commissioned ahead of schedule. Production has now resumed.

The company estimates that Balama will see a production loss of 30 kt during Q4 from the fire, with Q4’s revised production forecast being adjusted to 30 to 35 kt.

Syrah’s share price was at AU$2.03 at close of day Wednesday, up 4.91 percent.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Olivia Da Silva, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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Australia isn't a producer of graphite (yet), but three states in the country are home to millions of tonnes of reserves and resources.

Graphite has been growing in popularity in recent years as its applications as a battery mineral are realised, and as the popularity of electric vehicles grows around the world.

A form of carbon, graphite is a good conductor and is invaluable in electronics. It comes in three different forms, each with their own valuable applications in modern technology, making it a sought-after commodity without which supply lines for many industries around the world would grind to a halt.

Graphite isn't produced in Australia (yet), but the country sits on 1.05 million tonnes of ore reserves, and 7.14 million tonnes of economic demonstrated resources (EDR), as per 2017 government data — and those numbers are way up from the previously disclosed data from Canberra in 2013.

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Sydney, Australia – New Energy Minerals Limited is pleased to provide an update to the market in relation to the Company’s activities for the period ending 31 December 2020. Corporate Update New Project Acquisition The Company has previously announced with the closing of the Balama Sale Transaction on 17 July 2020 that it has no further operations in Mozambique and that the closing also represented a disposal of its …

Sydney, Australia (ABN Newswire) – New Energy Minerals Limited (ASX:NXE) (FRA:GGY) (OTCMKTS:MTTGF) is pleased to provide an update to the market in relation to the Company’s activities for the period ending 31 December 2020.

Corporate Update

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Syrah remains engaged in progressing the feasibility study for the scale-up of the Vidalia facility post-product qualification.

Graphite producer Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR,OTC Pink:SYAAF) said it is temporarily suspending operations at its Vidalia battery materials plant in the US state of Louisiana following a state-wide “Stay at Home Order” to fight the spread of COVID-19.

The order, issued on Sunday (March 22), will be in effect until April 13, with Syrah saying it does not meet criteria for exclusions under this regulation.


“This will delay the distribution of purified natural graphite samples for qualification with potential customers whilst the Stay at Home Order remains in place,” the company said in a press release.

Right now, Syrah’s team is working remotely to progress the feasibility study for the scale-up of the Vidalia facility post-product qualification.

The US plant, which the company purchased for US$1.23 million, produced its first unpurified spherical graphite at the end of 2018, with qualification samples dispatched to target customers in early 2019. The facility has environmental permits in place and an initial milling capacity of 5,000 tonnes per year.

Syrah’s Balama graphite project in Mozambique, which is the largest natural graphite operation outside of China, remains operational at this time.

“The company continues to monitor and assess the international mobility of personnel, the free movement of goods through supply chains and broader market conditions,” Syrah said, adding that it continues to strengthen protocols in response to COVID-19 risks at the asset.

Back in September, the company reduced production volumes to 5,000 tonnes per month at Balama due to volatility in the market. Syrah said it has continued its moderated production strategy into Q1 of this year as planned, seeking to match production volumes with market demand.

“Despite the near-term uncertainty due to COVID-19, the long-term market fundamentals for natural flake graphite remain intact, with ongoing commitment to the decarbonisation of the transport sector via lithium ion powered electric vehicles by supply chain participants and governments,” the company said.

Syrah expects its end-of-quarter cash balance to be broadly aligned to guidance of US$64.6 million.

On Tuesday (March 24), Syrah was trading up 2 percent at AU$0.23. However, the company’s share price has been suffering since the start of the year, and is down more than 50 percent since January.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

WHAT'S IN STORE FOR THE RESOURCE SECTOR IN 2022?

The Investing News Network (INN) spoke with analysts, market watchers and insiders about which trends will impact this sector in the year ahead.
✓ Trends   ✓ Forecasts    ✓ Top Stocks



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IG6 and ZEN Energy Sign MOU to Cooperate on Renewable Power Supply at Collie
International Graphite Limited (ASX: IG6) – Admission and Quotation
International Graphite Limited (ASX: IG6) – Admission and Quotation

Western Australia’s International Graphite (ASX:IG6) has signed a non‐binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ZEN Energy with the objective of concluding binding agreements for the purchase of firmed renewable energy from ZEN Energy by International Graphite for its Collie operation


HIGHLIGHTS
  • International Graphite seeks to build commercial scale graphite downstream processing facilities at Collie to produce battery anode materials for electric vehicles
  • ZEN Energy is seeking to build and operate a ‘big battery’ in Collie rated at 200MW of power capacity , and storing up to 800MWh of energy, in support of renewable energy supply contracts with customers in the Collie region
  • MOU lays the foundation for cooperation aimed at reaching renewable energy supply agreements for International Graphite’s downstream processing plant in Collie.

ZEN Energy, whose major shareholder is leading climate change economist Professor Ross Garnaut, is a renewable energy retailer that currently supplies the electricity needs of the South Australian Government, CSIRO’s sites in the eastern states, a set of commercial and industrial businesses in the SACOME Buying Group and twenty‐five local regional councils in New South Wales. ZEN is assessing the feasibility of building a 200MW, 600 to 800MWh battery at Collie, south of Perth. The battery would be around four times the size of Tesla’s big battery in South Australia.

International Graphite is developing downstream graphite processing facilities in Collie. This facility will undertake research and development activities and conduct pilot testing of graphite concentrates for purification and spheroidising of graphite for Battery Anode Material (BAM) applications, as well as produce micronised graphite. It is the Company’s intention to expand the facility to commercial scale production.

The power supply agreement with ZEN Energy would provide a renewables power source to drive the graphite technologies that International Graphite plans to develop at its downstream processing facility. This will help the company achieve its targets for low carbon emissions and facilitate rapid production expansion in the future.

Both International Graphite and ZEN Energy are supported by the Western Australian Government, which awarded International Graphite $2m through the Collie Futures Industry Development Fund toward the establishment of a graphite micronising plant at Collie and up to $1 million for the first stage of ZEN’s big battery feasibility study.1 This investment by the WA Government in both projects demonstrates its commitment to build Collie as a future centre of renewable energy projects in Western Australia.

International Graphite Executive Chairman Phil Hearse said access to renewable energy underpins our ability to deliver highly ESG accredited products into global markets.

“A critical supply of green power gives International Graphite an important advantage, helping ESG and environmental objectives, as well as supporting a new supply chain that will bring jobs to Collie and opportunity to Western Australia,” Mr Hearse said.

ZEN Energy’s big battery would help manage wholesale market risk in a program to supply renewable energy to new and existing industrial projects in Collie. It is expected to be a key feature in a new Collie Battery and Hydrogen Industrial Hub Project, which is the centrepiece in the Western Australian Government’s $100m strategy to create a major renewable energy centre in Collie and transition the local economy away from coal.

ZEN Energy CEO Anthony Garnaut said, “We are committed to creating practical energy supply solutions for customers seeking to grow their business on a sustainable footing.”

“Successful cooperation with International Graphite strengthens the commercial case for a big battery in Collie and provides a practical demonstration of how Australia can become a renewable energy superpower.

“There are additional benefits that a large battery will bring to the Western Australian grid. For example, it will support the continued investment of West Australian households in roof top solar by providing the ability to soak up excess solar energy, reducing the need to curtail residential solar production.”

This announcement has been authorised for release by the Board of Directors of International Graphite.

Click here for the full ASX Release

This article includes content from International Graphite , licensed for the purpose of publishing on Investing News Australia. This article does not constitute financial product advice. It is your responsibility to perform proper due diligence before acting upon any information provided here. Please refer to our full disclaimer here.

IG6:AU
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The gold price is trading lower than some market watchers would prefer, but the top-performing ASX gold stocks so far this year are making leaps.

Click here to read the previous best ASX gold stocks article.

While 2021 was a disappointing year for gold, analysts are optimistic about the outlook for 2022.

The yellow metal passed the US$2,000 per ounce mark as tensions between Russia and Ukraine heated up, but has since pulled back to trade closer to US$1,800. However, diverse factors could combine to push it higher.

Demand for gold jewellery, gold bars and coins, and the metal’s use in the technology sector are still going strong, and supply is also a growing concern due to decreased gold exploration efforts in recent years.


Against this backdrop, many Australian gold stocks are doing well. And with the precious metal generally considered a safe investment, it's worth being aware of the county's top-performing companies.

Here the Investing News Network looks at the best ASX gold stocks of the year so far by year-to-date gains. The list of stocks below was generated on April 29, 2022, using TradingView’s stock screener, and all companies included had market caps over AU$30 million at that time.

1. Xantippe Resources

Year-to-date gain: 180 percent; market cap: AU$107.3 million; current share price: AU$0.01

Xantippe Resources (ASX:XTC) is focused on Western Australia's Southern Cross region, which is widely known for its past gold production. The precious metals explorer's Southern Cross project is made up of 20 prospecting licences and six exploration licences, and holds a number of key priority targets.

In late April, Xantippe confirmed the acquisition of lithium tenements in Argentina with the hope of commencing exploration activities in the third quarter.

2. Minrex Resources

Year-to-date gain: 55.81 percent; market cap: AU$63.05 million; current share price: AU$0.07

Minrex Resources’ (ASX:MRR) assets include five gold and base metals projects in Western Australia, four of which are in the mineral-rich East Pilbara region.

The company started off the year with high-grade gold drill results from its work at the Queenslander gold prospect within its Sofala project. The prospect is centred around the past-producing Queenslander mine.

3. Aston Minerals

Year-to-date gain: 38.1 percent; market cap: AU$164.19 million; current share price: AU$0.15

Gold and nickel-cobalt explorer Aston Minerals (ASX:ASO) is moving forward at its Edleston gold project, located in the Cadillac-Larder Lake fault zone of Canada's Abitibi greenstone belt. Edleston is its flagship asset, and according to the company, it is the first in over a decade to drill in this area.

Aston continues to focus on gold at Edleston, but its Boomerang nickel-cobalt target has come to the forefront in recent months, with the company announcing the results of its maiden hole there in early December.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Marlee John, currently hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

business people stacking wooden blocks

Australian lithium miners continued to move ahead with their projects during the year's third financial quarter.

After hitting all-time highs in 2021, lithium prices started to stabilise in 2022's first quarter.

China’s lockdown measures to battle COVID-19 have disrupted the supply chain and impacted domestic demand in recent weeks, but this is expected to be temporary, according to William Adams of Fastmarkets.

“The lithium market is very tight. We don't see that easing anytime soon,” he said during a recent webinar about risks in the battery metals market. “We think the underlying fundamentals and the trends are still very strong.”


During the third quarter of the financial year, Australian lithium miners continued to move ahead with their projects, and despite the increased volatility in the markets, many ASX lithium stocks saw share price gains as well.

Perth-based Pilbara Minerals' (ASX:PLS,OTC Pink:PILBF) production for the quarter was 81,431 dry metric tonnes (dmt), slightly down compared to the previous three months, but within guidance. The company said the main factor impacting output was higher COVID-19 cases, which resulted in staff and contractor shortages.

“COVID-19 has (and may continue in the near term) to cause operational delays, including staffing shortages for both shut-down and operating staff (mining and processing),” the company said in a statement. Even so, Pilbara has decided to maintain its production guidance in the range of 340,000 to 380,000 dmt.

During its fourth battery material exchange auction, the company saw the highest bid ever at US$5,650 per dmt for a cargo of 5,000 dmt of spodumene, showing the critical shortage in lithium raw material supply.

Western Australia-focused Pilbara, which owns the lithium-tantalum Pilgangoora operation, has partnerships with Ganfeng Lithium (OTC Pink:GNENF,SZSE:002460), General Lithium, Great Wall Motor Company (OTC Pink:GWLLF,HKEX:2333), POSCO (NYSE:PKX), CATL (SZSE:300750) and Yibin Tianyi.

Shares of Pilbara were trading at AU$2.53 on May 10, down 28.13 percent year-to-date, but up more than 100 percent compared to this time last year.

For its part, leading Australian lithium and iron ore miner Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN,OTC Pink:MALRF) saw its Mount Marion mine’s production reach 104,000 dmt during the quarter; it also shipped 94,000 dmt of spodumene concentrate. The company is maintaining its full-year production guidance at 450,000 to 475,000 dmt.

In April, Mineral Resources and partner Ganfeng agreed to optimise production and upgrade Mount Marion's processing facilities. Spodumene concentrate capacity at the operation is expected to increase from 450,000 dmt per year to 600,000 dmt annually.

“The decision to upgrade the plant reflects an expectation that the lithium market outlook will remain extremely strong for the foreseeable future,” the company said in a press release. A second stage increase, expected to be completed by the end of 2022, will see capacity rise further to reach 900,000 dmt.

Aside from Mount Marion, the company holds interests in Wodgina in partnership with another top producer — Albemarle (NYSE:ALB). The companies decided to restart Wodgina last year as a result of soaring global lithium demand. The mine produced its first spodumene concentrate on May 12.

“(We have) also agreed to review the state of the global lithium market towards the end of this calendar year to assess timing for the start-up of Train 3 and the possible construction of Train 4,” the company said. Each train has a nameplate capacity of 250,000 dmt of 6 percent product.

Mineral Resources’ share price was down 10.71 percent on May 10, trading at AU$52.71. That said, the stock is up 9.11 percent year-on-year.

During the March quarter, Argentina-focused Allkem (ASX:AKE,OTC Pink:OROCF) outlined its plans to increase lithium production threefold by 2026 and become a top three chemicals supplier.

In Western Australia, the company owns the Mount Cattlin mine, which produced 48,562 dmt of spodumene concentrate and shipped 66,011 tonnes in the March quarter.

“Strong conditions in the spodumene market are supporting advanced discussions for spodumene concentrate pricing in the June quarter of approximately US$5,000 per dmt SC6 percent CIF on sales of approximately 50,000 tonnes,” the company told investors in a note.

In Argentina, Allkem operates the Salar de Olaroz and is developing the Sal de Vida lithium brine. Additionally, in partnership with Toyota Tsusho (TSE:8015), Allkem is building a 10,000 tonne per year lithium hydroxide plant in Naraha, Japan. The company also owns the James Bay lithium pegmatite project in Canada.

On May 10, shares of Allkem were changing hands for AU$10.95, down 2.23 percent year-to-date, but up over 55 percent year-on-year.

Although its main focus is nickel, Independence Group (ASX:IGO) joined the lithium party last year after it bought a stake in Tianqi Lithium’s Australian assets. The companies, in joint venture, now control the majority of the biggest lithium mine in the world — Greenbushes.

Production at the mine was up 5 percent quarter-on-quarter at 270,464 tonnes of spodumene concentrate. By 2025, Greenbushes is expected to add around 800,000 tonnes per year to its output capacity.

IGO has seen its share price decline 4.63 percent year-to-date, trading at AU$11.34 on May 11. However, the stock is up 47.27 year-on-year.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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