In addition to the group of junior explorers now hard at work on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula – which looks likely to become an established graphite province – the exploration sector is combing the world for new projects.
Or graphite comes to them, as is the case with Castle Minerals (ASX:CDT) which found the material on its Wa gold ground in northern Ghana. Castle has now proclaimed their Kambale project “ranks as one of the largest global graphite deposits”. The company this week reported a maiden resource of 14.4 million tonnes at 7.2% graphitic carbon – or 1.03 million tonnes of contained graphite. Metallurgical test work returned results with coarse flake sizings. The graphite outcrops at the ground surface and 90% of the deposit lies at depths of less than 100 metres. Drilling tested only the first 1km of strike with extensions and the eastern zone at Kambale still be to drilled. Managing director Mike Ivey said the company drilled its first hole in March and regarded as an achievement bringing in a resource just four months later. Only 20 per cent of the graphic schist horizon had been tested, he said.
Here’s something you may not have known: from the 1960s until the early 1990s, South Korea was the world’s largest producer of graphite. Then along came China in the early 1990s and dumped graphite on the world market, sending prices slumping and the South Korean mines were shuttered. Now an Australian health products company OMI Holdings (ASX:OMI) – which is planning to re-brand itself as Peninsula Graphite – has picked up several graphite targets in South Korea. It has bought a private Australian company, Opirus Minerals, which has flake graphite exploration permits and ground that includes de-commissioned mines.
Cullen Resources (ASX:CUL) was an accidental graphite player, when its TL base metals property near Mabel Lake, east of Vernon, British Columbia, turned out to contain graphite-bearing schists, including coarse-grained flake graphite. That is now being worked on, but Cullen this week also applied for ground over six known graphite prospects in Finland. This company had started investigating Scandinavia after another Perth-based outfit, Talga Gold (ASX:TLG), picked up the Nunasvaara project in Sweden and sent its share price soaring. Cullen is eyeing potential graphite buyers in Europe.
And further news from Tanzania where Kibaran Resources (ASX:KNL) says preliminary test work has revealed strong graphite potential at its two Tanzanian properties, Mahenge and Merelani-Arusha. Sampling has produced grades up to 17.1% graphitic carbon.