Syrah overcomes Balama fire to keep production on track

The Balama site. Image: Syrah Resources.

Syrah Resources has posted strong results in the December 2018 quarter in spite of production issues caused by a fire at the Balama graphite mine in Mozambique last October.

The damage caused by the fire in the Balama mine’s primary classifier unit led to a five-week outage that Syrah estimated would lower production by 30,000 tonnes in the quarter.

Syrah today revealed that it produced 33,000 tonnes of fines and coarse-flake graphite in the quarter and 104,000 tonnes for the full year of 2018, largely in line with expectations despite the fire.

These results have established Balama as one of the world’s largest natural graphite deposits in its first year of operations, according to the company.

The Balama mine contains an estimated graphite resource in excess of 1.19 billion tonnes and a 50-year mine life.

Syrah’s production target for the first quarter 2019 stands at 45,000–50,000 tonnes with a full year target of 250,000 tonnes as production continues to ramp up.

Despite this production impact, the company mined slightly more material in its latest quarter than the previous quarter. Material with a cut-off of 9 per cent total graphitic carbon (TGC) saw a 2 per cent jump on the previous quarter to 416,000 tonnes.

The company also increased sold and shipped material to 37,000 tonnes in the fourth quarter versus 20,000 tonnes in the third quarter, a rise the company attributed to improvements in “inventory management and supply chain logistics”.

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