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Orom-Cross PFS points to 14-year LoM

Graphite, nickel and copper developer, Blencowe Resources points to a 14-year life-of-mine (LoM) for the operation, with a net present value (NPV) of US $482-million following a completion of a prefeasibility study (PFS) for its flagship Orom-Cross graphite project, in Uganda.

Orom-Cross has an existing Joint Ore Reserves Committee-compliant standard resource of 24.5-million tonnes at 6% presenting from surface, providing for a shallow, low-cost, openpit mining operation. All mining within the first 14 years will be done from surface to a depth of 25 m, and an extended mine life can be obtained at any stage by drilling additional ready-targets, the company reports.

The company performed metallurgical test work Orom-Cross’ end-products to determine their chemistry and characteristics, indicating that they can deliver a high quality of about 96% loss on ignition concentrate. The project’s internal rate of return is 49%, with an operating cost of $499/t and a forecasted $1 307/t weighted average sales price for its basket of end-products.

Preliminary economic assessment

To develop the project, the new PFS – conducted by Australia-based technical experts Battery Limits – points to a 23% reduction in startup costs, when compared with the preliminary economic assessment (PEA) of 2021, to $62-million, of which 44%, or $27.3-million, will go towards establishing a processing plant.

Once operational, the project is expected to achieve earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of $1.4-billion, averaging at about $100-million a year over the LoM.  As such, the PFS suggests the project will deliver net cash of $1.07-billion over the LoM. As per the PFS, Blencowe plans to mine about 600 000 t/y of ore from the date of commissioning, increasing to 2.4-million tonnes a year by the time the project is fully ramped up in year ten.

Mining will be free-dig with no drill and blast requirement, with initial ore coming from saprolite (clay) and moving into fresh ore once depths of 15 m to 20 m are reached. Both of the deposits identified in the drilling programmes – Northern Syncline and Camp Lode – will be mined and a composite blend of both will be input into the processing plant that is to be built on site.

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