The DFS drilling program is well underway with the use of diamond and RC drilling rigs while key environmental studies are on schedule.
At Ancuabe, the company is poised to start an initial drill program to test 10 VTEM-based targets, confirming that graphite, and no other conductive material, is responsible for generating the larger VTEM responses.
Triton has also completed a small reconnaissance geological mapping and sampling program while a metallurgical and mineralogical test work program is underway.
Brad Boyle, managing director, commented:
"It has been an extremely busy period for Triton, with solid progress with the Nicanda Hill DFS which is on track for completion, together with the ESIA, by the end of the 2015.
"Meanwhile, the company has also initiated the preliminary exploration program and full ESIA at the Ancuabe graphite project together with an initial reconnaissance mapping and sampling program at the Balama South graphite project.
"Triton is pleased with concurrent advancement of all the projects and we look forward to updating the market as the results from the various programs become available in the coming weeks and months ahead."
The environmental, social impact assessment is on schedule with Coastal and Environmental Services (CES) completing both the wet season and dry season baseline studies which are key components of the process.
The Ministry of Coordination of Environmental Affairs (MICOA) has completed their site visit at the Balama North project and the Environmental Pre-viability Report and Scope Definition (EPDA) and terms of reference disclosure documents will shortly be submitted to the Mozambique government.
Public consultations have been completed in the five surrounding villages with representatives from Triton, CES and the Government present.
CES are targeting to complete and submit their final ESIA report to the Mozambique Government by early December 2015.
Once submitted, the report will be reviewed accordingly and is expected to be finalised and approved by early 2016.
DUAT applications for the right to use and exploit land are progressing well, as the public consultations with the surrounding villages around the Nicanda Hill graphite project have now been completed.
Triton is expecting that the DUAT will be approved by the end of 2015.
The DFS program is currently is on time and within budget with Triton targeting completion by the end of 2015.
DFS drilling is well underway with the use of diamond and reverse circulation drilling rigs. This includes resource infill program within limits of the Year 10 pit perimeter, drilling of Piezometers, test pitting, pit geotechnical, pit hydrology, sterilisation and water supply.
Results will be used to confirm the current resource interpretation and to establish the optimum grade control pattern within the limits of the Years 1 to 10 design pit.
Drilling will also provide sufficient information to underpin an upgrade in resource classification of material significance and thus form the basis of developing a substantial quantity of proven graphite reserves to both underpin the project economics and reduce the risk profile.
A number of other assessments have been completed at site including packer testing, pump testing, magnetometer testing, down-hole orientation and geophysics which are essential in the development of the resource, pit design and tailings storage facility design.
Work is also well underway with the design for the graphite processing plant and site layout.
Metallurgical test work is well advanced with a bulk sample being processed, assessed and refined at the SGS laboratories in Perth.
The program is designed to refine and enhance the flow sheet design to optimise the established high recovery rates and high graphite concentrate grades of the flotation process and they are to be adopted at the Nicanda Hill processing plant.
This will ensure the most cost effective and efficient graphite recovery process is used during the large scale commercial production of the high quality graphite concentrate.
Triton continues to look to expand the TMG product range and as such work is now being undertaken by Independent Metallurgical Operations (NYSEMKT:IMO) to understand a full range of the graphite concentrate physical characterisation properties, including electrical, thermal, density and laser sizing.
Further, the company is reviewing options to determine whether the Nicanda Hill graphite is suitable for the creation of spherical graphite.
Should these advanced tests produce positive outcomes, this will provide Triton with additional market avenues and creating an opportunity to become a leading supplier of high quality graphite products, to be used in the ever growing energy storage and electric vehicle markets.
Triton is also reviewing other metallurgical tests including whether TMG products will be suitable for creation of low cost graphene oxide and ultimately graphene products, which would create additional applications and diversification of the TMG concentrate, helping to expand Triton's market presence as a vertically integrated graphite company.
At the Ancuabe project, CES has completed the dry season review which is the first key component of the study at the Ancuabe project.
CES specialists are now completing further assessments of flora, fauna, natural resources and agriculture, water quality, fish, geohydrology, noise assessment, traffic and air quality.
Triton is now preparing to test 10 VTEM-based targets in the first pass "proof of concept" drilling program.
The key objective of the program is to confirm that graphite, and no other conductive material, is responsible for generating the larger VTEM responses.
A diamond rig has been mobilised to site for the initial drill program. Subject to results, a second diamond and reverse circulation drill rig will also be mobilised to Ancuabe.
Triton has completed a small reconnaissance geological mapping and sampling program on the Balama South project.
The program was designed to confirm the presence of graphitic mineralisation as identified by the VTEM survey completed last year. A number of rock chip samples were obtained from graphitic outcrops and have been sent to the Mintek laboratories in South Africa for analysis.
Metallurgical and mineralogical test work is being conducted by Mintek laboratories in South Africa to define the flow sheet for the graphite flotation and recovery process.
The tests are focused on the effect of milling times in the circuits and the graphite flake preservation in the early stages of the flotation process.
Triton expects to receive preliminary assay results and the subsequent flotation results from Mintek in the coming weeks.
Mining Law and Fiscal Regime
Over the past few months Triton has monitored the flow-on effects from recent changes in the Mozambique mining legislation and the associated fiscal regime, and ultimately the potential implications for mining companies operating in Mozambique.
It is of the view that recent changes to the legislation will in fact provide the company with a greater degree of certainty moving forward.
There are a number of sections within the new legislation that will need some additional clarity about how to apply some of the new provisions, which is quite normal when implementing these types of changes.
In addition, the company confirmed that the new fiscal regime introduced under the new Mining Tax Law provides for mining companies to benefit from a number of tax incentives to encourage companies to develop industry in-country rather than sending the raw minerals and products overseas for further processing.
Mozambique has confirmed that these development incentives include substantial discounts on import and export taxes including exemptions from custom duties for a period of five years, particularly in relation to the importation of capital and goods.
Furthermore the regime allows for a 50% reduction of the Mining Production Tax and provides tax stability for a period of up to 10 years of operation.
Triton believes that the changes in the fiscal regime are particularly relevant and places the company in a unique position to take advantage of these and other incentives, which will help Triton with the rapid development of mining operations of the world largest graphite deposit at Nicanda Hill and the creation of a whole new industry with the graphite enhanced products.
According to the new Mining Law, companies should give preference to goods and services either purchased or obtained from Mozambican individuals or entities.
It also provides that mining companies must be listed on the Mozambican Stock Exchange within 5 years of commencing production.
An additional benefit not previously available to companies is the protection of property rights and activities granted under any mining permits for mining companies from undue and unfair expropriation without fair compensation and the protection of the transfer of funds outside of Mozambique.
In summary the benefits for Triton with the new mining and fiscal regimes include:
- Fiscal regime to apply to all mining companies in Mozambique;
- Tax incentives to encourage companies to develop industry in-country;
- Mozambique engagement and support;
- Access to additional local funding;
- Property rights protection; and
- Development incentives for value add to minerals
Triton is stepping on the accelerator in Mozambique with the company well positioned to continue with the rapid development of the Nicanda Hill graphite deposit.
Already the ESIA and DFS are on scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015.
Should the company further demonstrate economic quantities of large and jumbo flake graphite at both the Ancuabe and Balama South graphite project, it could complement the Triton Minerals Graphite product range.
This will provide the company with the potential to produce large volumes of high grade graphite in the full range of flake sizes, thereby accommodating a wider range of end-user requirements.
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