MAPUTO, Australian mining company Syrah Resources Limited has announced its first commercial production of graphite from its mine in Balama district in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.

In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange, the company said last Friday that the Balama mine had produced its first bagged saleable flake graphite, which is more than 95 per cent fixed carbon.

Managing director Shaun Vermer said: Following the intermediate concentrate produced in late October, Syrah has now successfully commissioned the final stages of the flake circuit, including polishing, filtration, drying, screening and bagging.”

The flake graphite produced is within our expected grade range, in excess of 95 per cent fixed carbon, said Vermer, who added that the company expected its first shipment of flake product from Nacala Port in the coming weeks, with first cash receipts expected in early 2018, with production of 160,000 to 180,000 tonnes in the year.

He described the first production of flake graphite as a significant achievement. “We look forward to reliably and consistently supplying the global graphite market, he said.

All major construction work at the Balama mine is now essentially complete, as is the construction of a pipeline for water supply from the Chipembe Dam, and a pumping station. Syrah Resources says the Balama mine will be the leading global producer of high purity graphite.

“Production from the mine is targeted to supply traditional industrial graphite markets and emerging technology markets, the company said. The company has successfully completed extended product certification test work with several major battery producers for the use of Balama spherical graphite in the anode of lithium ion batteries.

Syrah expects the mine to produce about 350,000 tonnes of graphite concentrate a year, which will make Balama the world’s largest producer of graphite and ideally positioned to meet the anticipated increase for lithium ion battery applications.