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Syrah Resources Pens Measured Graphite Resource At Balama West

Syrah Resources (ASX: SYR) has upgraded 90% of the Indicated Resource at the Ativa Zone of its Balama West Project, Mozambique, to the higher confidence Measured category.

The Measured Resource stands at 11.6 million tonnes grading 19.9% total graphitic carbon and 0.4% V2O5.

Some of the Inferred Resource of 12Mt at 19.9%TGC and 0.4% V2O5 was also upgraded to the Measured category.

Notably, the Measured and Indicated Resource at the Ativa Zone is currently sufficient for 11 to 12 years of production.

This follows its independent resource consultants MSA Group saying it was satisfied that Balama graphite can be marketed based on direct communication between MSA and graphite buyers who have undertaken their own independent test work on Balama graphite.

Overall Resources at Ativa stands at 51.32 million tonnes at 19.9% TGC and 0.38% V2O5

Syrah added that it is confident that an upgraded Resource including Measured and Indicated for the Mualia Zone and the Mepiche Zone in Balama East will be forthcoming following recent drilling at these two prospects.

It noted the different Balama zones have varying flake size characteristics and that it was developing a mine plan that will enable different zones to be selectively targeted to meet customer requirements.

The company's board also noted that it has reasonable grounds to believe the project can be funded and is in discussions with several debt financiers.

A term sheet from one of those financiers is currently being prepared.

In the event that Balama cannot be fully debt funded, Syrah is confident of securing any deficit through equity funding. Syrah notes that the estimated initial capital cost of Balama is US$92 million (including contingencies) with a peak funding requirement of US$69 million.

Future Mine Planning

The Mualia Zone is at the crest of a hill (whereas the Ativa Zone is at the base of the hill.

Due to the topographic high provided by Mualia, the effect of mining the 0-300 metre zone at Mualia is similar to that of mining the Ativa Zone to 100 metre depth below surface.

The advantage of mining the hill zone regarding energy and ground water management will be balanced with the exceptional grades and ease of mining the Ativa Zone to ensure optimum efficiencies are achieved.

The ability of Syrah to be able to undertake selective mining to supply all market sectors via a series of open cut pit developments is being developed by effective mine planning combining geological modelling with the variability of the mineralised material.

The distinct difference in mineralisation, especially between extremely high-grade +25% fine material to coarser grained - 20% material, is allowing for the development of a simple mining flow-sheet.

There are six key zones identified to date that will undergo detailed evaluation during the construction period to ensure the company is meeting market expectations for graphite.

These areas offer varied flake sizes from fine to jumbo flake and varied grade and purity of the contained graphite.

Balama Testwork

Syrah had previously carried out testwork that demonstrated that a concentrate grading over 96% could be produced using simple flotation.

Metallurgical testwork has also concentrated magnetic vanadium bearing minerals to about 5% V2O5 by simple processing of the tailings from the graphite extraction process.

Further tests have upgraded non-magnetic mineralisation - dominated by roscoelite - by 4-5 times to achieve a V2O5 concentrate grade of about 2-2.5%.

Analysis

Shares in Syrah are set to open higher tomorrow on the Measured Resource estimate.

That graphite from Balama West can now be marketed is another step towards developing the project with financing appearing to be progressing as well.

Other share catalysts include the upgraded Resource for Balama East as well as the expected Feasibility Study.

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