It’s always good to speak to your global peers – and Renascor Resources was certainly able to do that earlier in November, when it attended the 2017 Graphite Supply Chain Conference in Newport Beach, California.
Renascor was one of the companies chosen to give a graphite project update and its managing director, David Christensen, took the opportunity to update the audience on the Siviour project in South Australia.
Many of the delegates were hearing the Siviour story for the first. Christensen shared with the delegates the robust economics of Siviour and the fact that it is unique among peer Tier-1 graphite developments as being in the sedate political jurisdiction of Australia.
Siviour is among the largest reported graphite deposits in the world, with a shallow, flat-lying mineralised body. The orientation of the ore body should mean that Siviour has some of the lowest production costs of any similar project in the world.
Renascor expects the flake size distribution and high purity of the graphite concentrates that it will produce at Siviour to suit well the lithium-ion battery market – which is burgeoning on the back of the electric vehicle revolution – and some of the other high-growth markets that are emerging for graphite.
Christensen took the delegates through a macro story they know well: China dominates the supply of graphite but the market is restricted and unstable, with new safety and environmental regulations and export restrictions further reducing supply.
Low sovereign risk
While other potential supply sources are opening up – indeed, Renascor shared the conference stage with some of them – Christensen was able to take the delegates through the highly appealing nature of Australia as a low sovereign-risk jurisdiction.
If a secure source of high-quality supply came on stream from Australia, it would be very attractive to graphite users.
Christensen reported receiving many favourable comments about the project being based on the ninth-largest reported graphite indicated resource in the world as well as its location and proximity to excellent infrastructure.
Christensen received several questions from the audience plus many more from fellow delegates at the social functions. The questioners all showed a receptive understanding of Siviour’s potential, most particularly the options it gives for a staged development.
Christensen left Newport Beach confident that participants at the Supply Chain Conference understood the unique nature of Renascor’s project.
Choice of approaches
Having recently raised about $3 million before costs in a share placement, the company is well-positioned to progress the Siviour prefeasibility study.
It is evaluating both a staged approach as well as an immediate large-scale option, with the start-up production scale to be determined after the study is completed. In the evaluation, Renascor is taking into account the discussions it is having with potential offtake and finance partners.
The staged approach offers a potential lower-risk alternative to a large-scale start-up by taking advantage of some of the key strengths of Siviour such as the shallow, easily accessible ore body and its proximity to South Australia’s infrastructure.
As Renascor moves towards completing the study and advances discussions with potential partners, it is committed to evaluating all the viable options for bringing Siviour into production.