Mineral Commodities bolsters graphite management team

Mineral Commodities Ltd., Welshpool, Australia, (ASX:MRC) is strengthening its management team with the appointment of Christoph Frey to lead its graphite and anode materials in Europe, Stockhead.com.au reports.

He will also continue managing the marketing and sales  role which he has been performing for the company since  he started consulting in April 2020.

However, as Mineral Commodities’ chief operating officer of graphite and anode materials (Europe), Frey will also be responsible for mining and processing activities whilst leading its European graphite operations including development of its Active Anode Materials Plant.

Frey is a qualified mining engineer who has worked exclusively in the natural graphite industry for over 27 years.

He has been involved in all facets of development and production of natural flake graphite, with expertise in the supervision of graphite mining and processing, managing the development of product portfolios from graphite concentrate to high value graphite products such as purified spherical graphite.

In 2015, Frey founded ProGraphite GmbH, which provides a wide range of consulting and laboratory services to graphite businesses globally.

Prior to that, he served as technical director at AMG/Graphit Kropfmuehl AG from 2009 to 2013 where he provided technical oversight of the group’s entire production infrastructure in China, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Europe.

“We are delighted to have someone of Christoph’s industry expertise join the MRC team full time,” chief executive officer Mark Caruso said.

“Christoph’s engagement is consistent with the company’s stated objective of building a vertically integrated Active Anode Materials Plant (AAMP) to receive concentrates from its Skaland and Munglinup operations.

“The company continues to build its technical expertise as it moves to a final selection of an anode purification downstream process.”

Graphite battery anode plans

Mineral Commodities’ vertically integrated battery anode AAMP project in Norway will initially produce up to 10,000tpa of active anode materials, using high quality graphite concentrate from MRC’s Skaland operations.

Production at Skaland will ramp-up from ~10,000tpa in 2020-2022 towards the 16,000tpa limit in 2023 to supply ‘Module 1’ of the AAMP.

This will then be expanded into two 20,000 tonne modules to process graphite concentrate from MRC’s Munglinup operations in Australia.

Two alternative environmentally friendly methods of purification – a caustic roast process and a carbochlorination process – both returned “highly compelling” economic outcomes.

Making anode material is far more profitable than just mining and selling a graphite concentrate. The company said that either process would give the AAMP a net present value (NPV) more than five times that of the mines.

The caustic process has a NPV of $US1bn ($1.37bn) and 67 per cent internal rate of return (IRR), while carbochlorination boasts an NPV and IRR of $US1.07bn ($1.47bn) and 58 per cent, respectively.

Both NPV and IRR are metrics used to assess the profitability of a project – the higher the number is above zero, the more profitable it will be.

Total development costs for the integrated project come to $US313m for caustic purification and $US383m for carbochlorination.

First production from a ‘single train’ (2GWh) is planned for mid-2022, with initial production from the first full module slated for the September quarter 2023.

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