Balama, within the northern Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique, is the site of the world’s largest graphite mine, and the location for one of Fugro’s latest quality assurance and quality control soil testing services projects.
The Balama Project (“Balama”) is owned by Syrah Resources Limited (“Syrah”), an Australian listed company whose vision is to be the leading supplier of superior quality graphite products. Syrah’s high grade Balama deposit has the largest defined graphite reserve in the world with production capability of 350,000 tonnes of graphite concentrate per year. Ore commissioning of the project is complete, with first production of flake graphite achieved in November 2017 and Balama has transitioned into operations
Bernard Grandmont, Commercial Project Manager at Fugro said: “Fugro owns and operates the only ISO accredited concrete, rock and soil laboratory testing facility in Eastern Africa so we were the natural choice to be selected by Syrah to work on this project. We’ve deployed a specially trained and highly experienced team of four Mozambican national technicians and are working on site in two accredited ISO/IEC 17025:2005, laboratory containers.”
Mr David Griffith, Syrah General Manager Operations, emphasised that Fugro has been supporting Syrah since the very early design stage and has accompanied the whole construction phase with reliable QA/QC inputs and valuable geotechnical assessments, adding “the collaboration between both organisations has been exemplary from the very first day and we highly value their locally developed expertise.”
With the Balama construction essentially complete, the open-pit mining operation includes two pits, and a process plant that uses conventional processes including crushing, milling, flotation, filtration, drying, screening and bagging. Supporting infrastructure includes a power station, fuel storage facility, laboratory and an accommodation village.
We are proud that once again Fugro’s extensive engineering and consulting expertise has provided critical insight and the technical solutions to optimise operations, from the early stages of developing the Balama Project through commissioning and into operation.
Fugro was specifically retained by Syrah to work on the construction of a tailings storage and process plant facilities on site.
Bernard Grandmont commented: “Fugro has been carrying out soil testing activities, quality assurance and quality control assessments to ensure engineering specifications for the project are followed and standards are met.”
The tailings storage facility is being constructed to manage waste materials produced from the processing activities and to collect rain water during the wet/rainy season which will be recycled and utilised onsite.
“The process plant building is a complex steel configuration where the ore will be processed”, continued Bernard. “Using really innovative and highly advanced specialist equipment we’ve carried out a series of Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity (UPV) measurements of the concrete in the process plant and soil tests to assess site conditions. To the delight of our client, the techniques we’ve deployed have a larger range of possibilities and applications across the Balama site.”
Fugro has considerable experience of successfully delivering technical services and project management in some of the most remote and challenging locations in the world. Through years of professional experience and a dedication to quality Fugro has become the ‘go-to’ expert on mining developments providing timely information to help clients optimise operations.
Graphite primarily forms naturally as a result of the metamorphism (heat and pressure) of organic material within the rock. The Balama graphite deposit was first documented in 1893 and only rediscovered in 2013.
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