Malingunde Project

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Mine TypeOpen Pit
  • Graphite
Mining Method
  • Truck & Shovel / Loader
Mine Life16 years (as of Jan 1, 2018)
ShapshotSovereign Metals Limited (ASX:SVM; AIM:SVML) (the Company or Sovereign) is pleased to announce that it intends to undertake a demerger (Demerger) whereby Sovereign’s Malawian graphite projects being the Nanzeka Project, Malingunde Project, Duwi Project and Mabuwa Project (Graphite Projects) are to be demerged through NGX Limited (NGX), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company, allowing Sovereign to focus on the development of the Kasiya Rutile Project (Kasiya) while unlocking value in its Graphite Projects for shareholders.

In February 2022, the Company applied for the grant of a mining licence (ML) at the Malingunde Project which covers 5.7km2. Conditional approval for the ML was provided in April 2022 with conditions to be addressed including submission of an environmental and social impact assessment approval certificate under the Malawian environmental management law.


Sovereign Metals Ltd. 100 % Indirect
Sovereign’s 100%-owned Malingunde saprolite-hosted graphite project is a globally significant, coarse flake graphite development.



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Deposit type

  • Saprolite


The graphite mineralisation occurs as multiple bands of graphite gneisses, hosted within a broader Proterozoic paragneiss package. In the Malingunde and Lifidzi areas specifically, a deep tropical weathering profile is preserved, resulting in significant vertical thicknesses from near surface of saprolite-hosted graphite mineralisation.

The Malingunde Deposit comprises 4,500 m strike length of shallowly north-east dipping, northwest striking graphitic gneisses. The mineralised package has up to six separate sub-parallel zones of graphite gneiss with cumulative across strike widths averaging 120 m and locally exceeding 200 m. The Msinja Deposit has a strike length of approximately 1.0 km with about five parallel zones of mineralisation. Across strike cumulative widths range between 40 and 100 m. The depth extent of the MRE is approximately 50 m although the mineralisation is believed to extend considerably deeper, but is not considered as an exploration target at this stage.

It is assumed the deposit, if mined, will be developed using open pit mining methods. No assumptions have been made to date regarding minimum mining widths or dilution. The largest mineralisation domains in plan view have an apparent width of up to 250 m which may result in less selective mining methods, as opposed to (for example) mining equipment that would need to be used to mine narrow veins in a gold mine.



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Mining Methods

  • Truck & Shovel / Loader


The proposed mining method is a conventional truck and shovel mining operation. Free dig mining is considered appropriate for this style of shallow, saprolite-hosted graphite mineralisation. This methodology is used throughout the region for open pit mining operations and is a robust, easily implementable approach.

A contract mining strategy was selected for the initial eight years to mitigate project risk, although operational management will be retained by Sovereign personnel. An owner-operator model is adopted from Year 9 onwards.

The deposit is planned to be mined on 2.5m high benches to maximise mining selectivity and therefore minimise dilution.

A minimum mining width of 20m was used for all pit designs.

The proposed mining method requires conventional mining infrastructure including but not limited to mining equipment workshop, fuel & oil storage facilities, wash bay, offices, lunch and ablution facilities and a first aid room. These are to be supplied by the mining contractor. Sovereign Metals have defined a mining infrastructure area and will supply water and power to this location.

As there is no anticipated requirement for blasting, no infrastructure is required for explosives storage.


Crushers and Mills


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  • Wet Screening
  • Dry Screening
  • Attrition
  • Flotation
  • Dewatering


The design of the processing plant is based on the test-work and best practice in similar operations. Importantly, the process requires no primary crushing or grinding of the ore, a material advantage over hard-rock graphite deposits. The basic flowsheet is summarised below:

- The plant feed will be delivered from the ROM run-of-mine stockpile (ROM) by front-end-loader (FEL) to the grizzly and ROM bin.

- Material is passed through a mineral sizer for primary size reduction and then processed through a scrubber charged with steel media.

- Scrubber discharge slurry is passed through a 10 mm screen with a small quantity (0-15%) oversize being directed to a small pebble crusher.

- Scrubber undersize at 100% passing 2 mm is pumped to the rougher flotation section for processing. Rougher tailings are pumped to the tailings thickener.

- Rougher concentrate undergoes a polishing regrind.

- The concentrate undergoes cleaner flotation stages with cleaner concentrate split into coarse and fine fractions at 180 µm.

- Three stages of recleaner flotation attritioning of the coarse and fine fractions, followed by three stages of cleaner flotation (separately).

- The final concentrate fractions +180 µm (+80 mesh) and -180 µm (-80 mesh) streams will be combined, thickened, and fed to a filter.

- The concentrate is dewatered using a plate and frame filter and air blow and membrane squeeze steps.

- The filtered concentrate will be dried using a flash dryer.

- Dried product will be screened producing up to four fractions and bagged for dispatch and sale.

Recoveries & Grades:

CommodityParameterAvg. LOM
Graphite Recovery Rate, % 90
Graphite Head Grade, % 9.5
Graphite Concentrate Grade, % 97


CommodityUnitsAvg. AnnualLOM
Graphite kt 52831
All production numbers are expressed as concentrate.

Operational metrics

Annual ore mining rate 600,000 t *
Annual processing rate 600,000 t *
Ore tonnes mined, LOM 9,514,298 t *
* According to 2018 study.

Production Costs

Cash costs Graphite USD 323 / t *  
Assumed price Graphite USD 1,216 / t *  
* According to 2018 study / presentation.

Operating Costs

OP mining costs ($/t milled) USD 5 *  
Processing costs ($/t milled) USD 10 *  
G&A ($/t milled) USD 7 *  
Total operating costs ($/t milled) USD 28 *  
* According to 2018 study.

Project Costs

MetricsUnitsLOM Total
Initial CapEx $M USD 49
Sustaining CapEx $M USD 23
OP OpEx $M USD 49
Processing OpEx $M USD 98
G&A costs $M USD 67
Total OpEx $M USD 268
Pre-tax NPV @ 10% $M USD 201
After-tax NPV @ 10% $M USD 141
Pre-tax IRR, % 56
After-tax IRR, % 43
Pre-tax payback period, years 3

Heavy Mobile Equipment

Fleet data has not been reported.


Mine Management

Source Source
Job TitleNameProfileRef. Date
Development Manager Paul Marcos LinkedIn Dec 19, 2023
Exploration Manager Sam Moyle LinkedIn Dec 19, 2023


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