A $2 million pilot graphite processing plant will be built at South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula before the end of the year after a scoping study for the project supported its economics.

Lincoln Minerals says the full-scale scoping study backs the development of the plant to produce graphite from its indicated and inferred resources at Kookaburra Gully.

“Completion of the scoping study for a pilot graphite production plant puts Lincoln another step closer to mainstream commercial output from our world-class flake graphite resources on Eyre Peninsula. We aim to have trial processed graphite samples ready and waiting for customer qualification later this year or early 2014, subject to finance and approvals for the pilot plant’s construction,” says Lincoln’s managing director John Parker.

He says trial graphite production will allow project development and early product assessment by potential domestic and international customers.

Kookaburra Gully hosts an indicated and inferred 2.25 million tonnes @ 15% total graphitic carbon (TGC) with 338,000 tonnes of contained graphite. The proposed pilot plant will be capable of producing 2.26 tonnes of graphite concentrate daily within the first six months of construction commencing.

The design for the plant outlines a modular facility with an operating throughout of up to 2 tonnes of feed material per hour. Its modular construction will be on three semi-trailer sized platforms which can be easily mobilized from Adelaide and demobilized following completion of the pilot plant processing trials.

“The mobile system is designed as a ‘plug and play’ facility, which will minimize total project time and cost by maximizing the amount of construction work completed under a controlled environment in Adelaide and minimizing installation and commissioning time at the proposed Kookaburra Gully processing site,” says John Parker.

The pilot processing system features crushing, screening, milling, flotation and dewatering circuits across primary, secondary and tertiary stages of processing. All ancillary equipment has been addressed and includes power generation, electrical components including lighting, internal piping, a water distribution system and flotation reagent distribution.

Lincoln will be able to process run-of-mine material to test and confirm metallurgical characteristics of the feed material for an optimal final process flow sheet. It will also produce a final graphite concentrate product and sufficient sample quantities for market and customer consideration in Australia and internationally.

The Kookaburra Gully prospect is about 35kms north of Port Lincoln.  Previous exploration by Pancontinental Mining in the early-mid 1980s combined with check sampling last year by Lincoln, outlined high grade flake graphite grading up to 12 metres @ 20.5% TGC in trenches over a strike length in excess of 550 metres.  Petrological studies highlighted coarse flake size up to 1.5mm. In January this year, 37 aircore and RC drill holes were completed with assay results ranging up to 39.7% TGC in a 17 metre interval averaging 21.73% TGC.

www.lincolnminerals.com.au