Fundamental to the BlackEarth vision is to identify the right commodity in the right jurisdiction.
Whilst graphite resources are available all over the world, BlackEarth’s targeted commodity of large-flake graphite narrowed the regions the Team explored.
Assessing global graphite projects across a spectrum of strict criteria, assets in Madagascar were identified as the right commodity in the right jurisdiction.
Although graphite is common across mainland Africa, political stability, a rich history and reputation for mining high-grade / high-value graphite with access to suitable ports, highlights Madagascar as a highly rated jurisdiction for mining.
Narrowing in on assets in Madagascar, the BlackEarth Team acquired the exploration rights for Capricorn Metals’ two Madagascar-based graphite assets which were at an “advanced evaluation stage” and capable of timely development to meet BlackEarth’s development vision.
Mineralogical testing has confirmed the potential for highly prospective graphite systems at Maniry which has led the Board to prioritise the Maniry Graphite Project.
BlackEarth’s Maniry project covers an area of approximately 143 square kilometres (‘km2‘). The project is reached by way of 40 km of secondary dirt roads heading north of Ampanihy, a large regional township in southern Madagascar.
Access to Ampanihy from the port city of Toliara is initially via a 70 km paved road to the village of Andranovory. From Andranovory, secondary all-season roads continue south through the major towns of Betioky and Ejeda for a distance of 200 km to access Ampanihy. Ampanihy itself is a centre for limited government administration services and supplies, and is also supported by a local airstrip and fuel supply.
Previous systematic exploration at Maniry revealed that it hosts a large-scale graphite mineralised system. Preliminary work on most of the defined targets has been completed. Thus, BlackEarth considers the Maniry project to be at an advanced stage of exploration. Recent drilling and the trenching have confirmed that mapping and sampling carried out to date can be considered a very good guide to the extent and quality of the mineralisation.
In addition, previous exploration has defined at least 34 large-scale zones of prominently outcropping graphite mineralisation over an area 6.5 km by 2.5 km. Individual lenses within that area have strike extensions of up to 1.8 km and can attain widths of up to 350 metres (m’). Sampling of the mineralisation indicates consistent grades with low variability and the potential for areas of very high-grade mineralisation (peak result 50.78 per cent total graphitic carbon (‘TGC’); typically 7 to 20 per cent TGC). Field assessment of the graphite flake size demonstrates that it is consistently coarse. Previously completed petrological analysis of selected samples has confirmed the high quality of the graphite.
Given the large aerial extent, outcropping and (in most cases) flat-lying nature of the graphite mineralisation at Maniry, BlackEarth is confident that the prospects can be upgraded to JORC-compliant resources in a very efficient manner, a process aided by the fact that the variability of the mineralisation seems highly predictable, based on data to hand.
BlackEarth’s Ianapera project covers an area of around 31 km2.
It lies 60 km north of Maniry and consists of a series of high-grade outcrops of graphite mineralisation within a broader graphite trend. These high-grade, near-surface exposures of graphite have the potential, collectively, to meet a resource target. Importantly, they lie atop a large conductive body, as defined by VTEM™. Graphite is highly conductive, so this may indicate the presence of a large graphitic mineralised system.
Previous exploration, consisting of geophysical interpretation, detailed mapping and outcrop sampling, has identified three target areas with currently delineated dimensions up to 800 m long by 30 m wide. Rock-chip results of more than 15 per cent TGC have been consistently collected across these positions.
BlackEarth considers that the Ianapera project has the potential to host a series of large-scale graphite deposits. Like the Maniry project, it has already been the focus of quality exploration that will allow a quick transition to resource evaluation.
The mineralisation is in most cases outcropping, which will allow relatively shallow drilling and trenching to delineate resources in a timely manner. While metallurgical test work will be required to determine the quality of the graphite mineralisation, the preliminary petrographic work is encouraging.