Latest News

8 February

International Graphite commissions Collie micronising plant

Credit: RHJPhtotos via Shutterstock

International Graphite has commenced the wet commissioning of its new 200 tonnes per annum (tpa) graphite micronising plant in Collie, Western Australia (WA).

This development marks a milestone for the domestic graphite industry, as it will be the first facility in Australia to produce graphite products for customer acceptance testing.

The qualification-scale microniser, which is the largest in the country, is a precursor to a planned 4,000tpa commercial operation.

The new plant is set to produce micronised graphite, a material integral to various industrial applications, including lubricants, polymers, plastics, ceramics, and fire-resistant building materials.

It also plays a crucial role as a conductive additive in lithium-ion battery cathodes and is a key component in manufacturing battery anode material for electric vehicles and green energy storage solutions.

The construction of the larger commercial micronising facility, with an estimated capital cost of A$12.5m ($8.1m), could begin as early as mid-2024, pending funding.

9 February

Rio Tinto, BHP, BlueScope partner on low-carbon steelmaking

Rio Tinto, BHP and Australian steelmaker BlueScope, have agreed to jointly investigate the development of the nation’s first ironmaking electric smelting furnace (ESF) pilot plant, potentially as early as 2027.

The alliance aims to tap BHP and Rio Tinto’s knowledge of Pilbara iron ores and BlueScope’s operational experience in ESF technology in a bid to support the goal of decarbonising steel production.

The initiative seeks to demonstrate the viability of producing molten iron using renewable energy sources in conjunction with direct reduced iron process. If successfully implemented, this technology could pave the way for near-zero GHG emission-intensity steel production, particularly for operations dependent on Australian iron ore. 

8 February

New Hope commits A$105m to Maxwell Mine project development

Coal mining company New Hope is looking to increase its stake in Malabar Resources by committing up to A$105m ($68.4m) in an equity-raising initiative.

In a stock exchange filing, the coal miner said that it “has committed to take up to A$105 million of a minimum A$160 million institutional placement equity raising launched by Malabar Resources Limited (Malabar) earlier today (Malabar Equity Raise)”.

The Malabar Equity Raise, which seeks a minimum of A$160m, has drawn a firm placement allocation of A$76m from New Hope, which will increase its shareholding from 15% to a projected 19.9%. In addition, New Hope agreed to a conditional placement allocation of A$29m, subject to approval from Malabar shareholders. 

13 February

Hillgrove starts copper production at Kanmantoo mine

Hillgrove Resources has produced the first copper concentrate from its Kanmantoo mine in Adelaide, South Australia.

The processing facility’s commissioning and the start of copper production were completed within the targeted time frame of the first quarter of 2024.

This positions Hillgrove as one of the few pure-play copper producers on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), with first revenues from copper concentrate sales expected this month.

The Kanmantoo Underground project, located around 55km from Adelaide, has been a site of substantial copper and gold production in the past. From 2010 to 2020, Hillgrove Resources operated a series of open pits at the site, yielding nearly 137,000 tonnes of copper and 55,000oz of gold.

8 February

BMG secures option to buy stake in WA exploration licences

Western Australia-focused gold and lithium explorer BMG Resources (BMG) has signed a deal for an exclusive option to acquire a 90% stake in three exploration licences in the West Arunta region in WA.

The area is known for its niobium-REE potential. This move positions BMG at the forefront of exploration in a region where significant discoveries have been made by industry peers.

West Arunta has garnered attention following substantial niobium-REE mineralisation discoveries by companies such as WA1 and Encounter Resources.

The area is becoming a hotspot for exploration, with major players like Rio Tinto, CGN Resources and MTM Critical Metals also conducting operations there. BMG’s Dragon Niobium-REE Project encompasses a land area of 1,470km², situated in the central part of West Arunta.