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Syrah Resources Targets Maiden Graphite Resource At Balama In Mozambique

Syrah Resources (ASX: SYR) is ramping up towards the delivery of a maiden JORC Resource at its Balama graphite project in Mozambique, committing to 15,000 metres of drilling, which has already begun.

Graphite mineralisation has been geologically mapped over a strike length in excess of 7 kilometres.

A diamond drill has already been mobilised to site to begin at least 5,000 metres of drilling. A further 10,000 metres of reverse circulation drilling is also planned.

High grade results from eight reconnaissance trenches at the project show an average grade of 14.5% total graphitic carbon, or 16.2% total carbon.

Indicating the size potential of Balama, the distance from the first (T1) to the last (T8) trench is about 4 kilometres in strike length, which is about half the length of the Balama mineralisation.

The longest trench (T5), which extended for 350 metres, covers only a small portion of the across strike extent of the mineralisation.

Balama has already differentiated itself from graphite deposits in Canada, Europe and Australia through its large tonnage potential, high grade and coarse flake size, which is being revealed through exploration and metallurgical work.

Syrah has previously demonstrated saleable grades of graphite from the project through initial metallurgical testwork.

Balama has been shown to host medium to coarse grained graphite that can easily be upgraded to a high grade 94% carbon concentrate at high recoveries.

Further upside is the associated highly anomalous vanadium geochemistry, which is widespread and provides the potential for vanadium credits.

Syrah anticipates delivery of a maiden Resource for Balama in the March quarter of 2013, if not sooner.

High Graphite Demand

In the current market, graphite prices have been increasing solidly and demand is outstripping supply.

Prices of coarse flake graphite have risen from around US$600 per tonne to US$3,000 per tonne between 2004 and 2011.

Based on demand and supply fundamentals there appears little chance of graphite returning to its lows and the price of graphite has the potential to rise further.

Demand is being driven by the need for products such as batteries and fuel cells, as well as a new technology called graphene - a one atom thick sheet of carbon that has a number of potential uses in electronics.

Automotive and iron and steel industries are the key end-users of the material.

China produces about 70% of the world's graphite but is experiencing slowing growth and reserve depletion.

Graphite has recently had quite a substantial return to interest from the investment community due to its near-term prospects and long-term growth potential.

Analysis

Syrah Resources is in the "box seat" with its Balama Graphite Project in Mozambique and potential to host a large, high grade graphite deposit. In light of the progress to date, the valuation of Syrah does not look overly demanding.

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