NextSource Materials (TSX:NEXT) (OTCQB:NSRC) is a Canadian mine development company based in Toronto, Ontario, that is rapidly developing its 100%-owned Molo Graphite Project in southern Madagascar to production.
The Molo is a Feasibility-stage project and ranks as one of the largest-known and highest quality flake graphite deposits in the world. The Molo hosts a National Instrument 43-101 compliant total combined graphite resource of 141.28 million tonnes (Mt) at 6.13% total graphitic carbon (C), with a contained ore reserve of 22.44 Mt at 7.02%C.
The Molo is located 160km by road south-east of Madagascar’s administrative capital (and port city) of Toliara, and 220km from the Port of Ehoala at Fort Dauphin, a modern (2009) deep-water port developed by the World Bank and Rio Tinto and will be the port of choice for the Molo Project. A serviceable regional road system connects Toliara to Fort Dauphin and runs immediately adjacent to the Molo camp.
The Molo deposit itself is specifically located 11.5 km east of the town of Fotadrevo in the Tulear region of south-western Madagascar and covers an area of 62.5 hectares within the Company’s overall property claim position of 425km2.
A Feasibility Study completed February 2015 confirmed that the Molo Project is expected to be a lowest-quartile producer due to its low-cost, open pit operation that has a negligible stripping ratio. In February 2017, an updated Feasibility Study was undertaken to reflect NextSource Materials’ phased approach to production, using a “mining first” full-modular mine build philosophy.
Phase 1 will consist of a processing plant with a feed rate of 240,000 tonnes per annum and a production rate of approximately 15,000 tonnes of finished flake graphite concentrate at purities between 97%C to 98%C per annum. This production level will rank the Molo Project among one of the top five largest producers of graphite globally.
Phase 2 of the Molo mine will be the expansion of SuperFlake™ production to 50,000 tonnes per annum, as envisioned in the Company’s 2015 Feasibility Study. Molo SuperFlake™ has been verified by end-users for use in all the top demand applications - refractory (steel), lithium-ion battery applications and expanded graphite (foil) applications.
By utilizing a phased approach, it ideally positions the Molo Project with first-mover advantage while simultaneously creating a competitive barrier to entry.
Key permits are now in the process of being approved by the Madagascan government, including a Mining Permit and an Environmental Permit. A comprehensive Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) was successfully completed to Equator Principles, which are the standards established by the World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC). Upon approval of the ESIA, NextSource Materials will receive its Global Environmental Permit, which is issued as part of the Mining Permit.
NextSource Materials is now focused on advancing the Molo Project to production, with marketing initiatives also being increased to coincide with the Company’s aggressive development plan. Commissioning and production are expected in 2018.