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China’s graphite ban an opportunity for Walkabout in Tanzania

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Construction at ASX listed Walkabout Resources' Lindi Jumbo Graphite Mine is progressing rapidly. Image credit: Walkabout Resources

China’s graphite ban an opportunity for Walkabout in Tanzania

ASX listed Walkabout Resources’ Lindi Jumbo Graphite Mine in Tanzania is on track to start producing graphite early in 2024 as China’s export controls on the material used in batteries, fuel cells and nuclear reactors kick in.  

Construction at the Lindi Jumbo Graphite Mine is progressing rapidly and the mine is expected to deliver its first shipment to the market as China’s recently announced measures to control the export of graphite from that country takes effect early next year.

Companies that intend exporting graphite from China will require special export permits for three grades of graphite. China introduced the export controls on national security grounds.

According to China’s commerce ministry the move on graphite was conducive to ensuring the security and stability of the global supply chain and industrial chain, and conducive to better safeguarding national security and interests.

The export restrictions present an opportunity for graphite projects like Walkabout Resources to enter new markets and benefit from the positive price momentum.

Construction progress at Lindi Jumbo Graphite Mine (China’s graphite ban an opportunity for Walkabout in Tanzania)

Meanwhile, construction at Lindi Jumbo Graphite Mine in Tanzania is progressing at pace and according to plan. The company reached a milestone last month with one million hours and zero lost time injury over 675 days.

According to Managing Director and CEO of Walkabout Resources Andrew Cunningham, shipments of outstanding equipment continue to arrive in Tanzania. “Construction of the Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) is 99% complete and on schedule and the essential plant civil works is 100% complete. Erection of the concentrator building structure 85% complete and that of the drying and screening building structure is 70% complete.

“The construction teams in Tanzania continue to make significant progress and are delivering to schedule whilst also maintaining an impeccable safety record. Coming online in early 2024, soon after Chinese export restrictions come into play, will secure Lindi Jumbo’s role as the largest producer of large flake graphite for the expandable graphite market outside China,” says Cunningham.

Concrete works complete (China’s graphite ban an opportunity for Walkabout in Tanzania)

According to Walkabout, all planned critical concrete works at Lindi’s processing plant are 100% complete. The civils contractor will now focus on the minor infill work – including floors, retaining walls and plinths for the containerised equipment, electrical transformers and other auxiliary equipment – to be delivered to site before the onset of commissioning.

Crushing circuit (China’s graphite ban an opportunity for Walkabout in Tanzania)

According to Cunnigham, the commissioning engineers on site have been working through the entire crushing circuit in preparation for potential early commissioning of the circuit.

The electrical engineering team is in the process of pulling in all the electrical cabling, connecting the control panels into the crushing MCC that has been installed. Electrical installation is expected to be completed in coming weeks.

“Final pre-commissioning QA/QC inspections of the Crushing Circuit are being performed, with punch-list items being rectified. Conveyor belts are ready for installation and the prefabricated conveyor covers currently at the port of Dar es Salaam will be installed before wet commissioning.

Concentrator Building (China’s graphite ban an opportunity for Walkabout in Tanzania)

The erection of the steel building framework for the concentrator building has progressed rapidly and is now 85% complete. The last of the steelwork to support the installation of the drum scrubber and vibrating screen is on site. This will enable completion of the scrubber, vibrating screen and gantry cranes installation and the commencement of roof panel installations.

The installation of electricals for the concentrator building is in progress, with most of the cable racking in place and electrical cables being pulled in. The installation of the piping continues and will be completed upon scrubber installation and the erection of the piping bridge between the concentrator building and the thickener.

Drying and screening building (China’s graphite ban an opportunity for Walkabout in Tanzania)

“The erection of the central steel framework that started towards the end of September is now at 70% completion. Approximately two weeks is estimated to completion before building cladding can commence.

“All major columns have been erected and the installation of the steel floors on each of the four levels of the plants is progressing well. This has allowed for various pieces of mechanical equipment to be lifted into place (surge bins, screw conveyors, vibrating screens and dust bag filters).

“Rotex screens are currently on a ship, awaiting unloading at Dar es Salaam port. Once crane access becomes viable, the remaining containerised MCC’s and Central Control unit will be placed into position, in preparation for the electrical circuits to be installed and tied into the switchgear.

“All significant civils for the plinths of the filter presses have been completed. Once cured, the filter presses can be lifted into place, enabling the building structure, electricals and plumbing within the building to be completed. The burner for the rotary dryer has not yet been installed, as it is currently awaiting ship loading in China.

“The steel and platework for the ancillary buildings have arrived in Tanzania and the structures will be erected in time to house spare parts that will come as part of the final shipment from China, due next month.

China’s graphite ban an opportunity for Walkabout in Tanzania

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China’s graphite ban an opportunity for Walkabout in Tanzania

 

 

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