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Tirupati Graphite plc – Unaudited Half Yearly Results
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Tirupati Graphite plc (TGR.L, TGRHF.OTCQX), the specialist flake graphite company and supplier of the critical mineral for the global energy transition, is pleased to announce its Interim Results for the six months ended 30 September 2023. 

 

The Company is engaged in mining and processing flake graphite, the only key battery mineral where the supply chain is dependent on a single nation across the value chain from mining to final product.

 

The development of its two projects in Madagascar to a combined capacity of 30,000 tons per annum (“tpa”) was completed at the start of the reporting period, and the Company was engaged in ramping up production, creating markets and increasing sales during the period. The Company also completed the acquisition of Suni Resources SA (“Suni”), Mozambique to add the construction-initiated Montepeuz and DFS-ready Balama Central projects in Mozambique to its portfolio of assets, and further initiated studies for optimisation of the proposed processing facilities to be built at these projects using the lean, cost effective, and sustainable technologies successfully used by the Company at its Madagascar projects.

 

Shishir Poddar, Executive Chairman of Tirupati Graphite, said:

“We feel proud of our achievements in the period under reporting. In spite of very tight working capital conditions, it is a testament to the inherent strengths of the Company and the team’s expertise in graphite operations, that we continued our ramp up to achieve significant year on year increases in production and sales.  During this initial phase we have designed and implemented various improvements to increase the resilience of the operations, control costs and reduce emissions.

 

“The completion of the acquisition of Suni adds two advanced development projects in the north of Mozambique’s renowned graphite producing region. We are encouraged by the quality of these projects which underpin our long term growth ambitions. Given the amount of work and investment in these assets we believe they were acquired at a very attractive consideration. Given the inbound interest already received for potential supply, we see the acquired assets as driving the next key milestones in our corporate journey, especially given the expected increases in demand for ex-China graphite and recent policy interventions to fuel supply chain diversity. Despite which, graphite remains the only key battery mineral where the supply chain is dependent on a single nation across the value chain from mining to final product.

 

“As previously announced, we are exploring a variety of funding options that will enable us to accelerate the production ramp-up and growth through 2024 and onwards, having laid a strong foundation to build a leadership position in this critical material.

 

“Discussions are at an advanced stage and we are confident that the funds will serve to unlock the Company’s potential at a time when graphite consumers are looking to urgently diversify and build resilience into their supply chains.”

 

Highlights for the six-month period ending on 30 September 2023 (“H1FY24”)

 

Operations in Madagascar

·      Production ramp up continued at the Company’s two flake graphite projects in Madagascar, established in modules between January 2021 to March 2023 to produce:

 12,000 tpa flake graphite capacity at Vatomina Project

 18,000 tpa flake graphite capacity at Sahamamy Project

·      Various process improvements made during development to manage costs and emissions were tested and further improved, gaps identified, and plans evolved to reach an effective output of nameplate capacity and enhance the capacity further by 20%.

·      100 Kw Hydro Power Plant (HPP) commissioned and put in regular operations at Sahamamy to reduce costs and emissions.

·      Plans and studies completed and regulatory approvals applied for to add a new 500 Kw HPP at Sahamamy to further lower long term costs and emissions.

·      Substantial growth achieved in production, marketing and sales despite working capital limitations, including delayed receipt of VAT refunds.

 

Key operating and financial highlights

 

From Unaudited Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income

 

Six Months Ending 

30 Sep 2023

30 Sep 2022

Cost of Production 

£2,366,299

£787,312

Quantity of Production (MT1)

4,508 MT

1,731 MT

Cost per MT of Production

£525/MT

£454/MT

Total Sales (MT)

4,785 MT

1,691 MT

Revenue from Sales

£3,146,627

£1,165,195

Achieved Basket Price (per MT)

US$827/£658 MT

US$833/£689 MT

Gross Operating Profit

£780,328

£377,883

Gross Operating Margins (per MT)

£163/MT

£223/MT

Gross Operating Margin on Sales (%)

25%

32%

Corporate and Administrative Costs

£1,831,879

£1,010,774

Other Income

£92,347

Gain on Bargain Purchase

£9,562,407*

EBIDTA

£ 8,693,204

£ (632,891)

Depreciation

£758,862

£793,173

EBIT

£7,934,342

£(1,426,064)

1.    MT = Metric Tonnes *Provisional, subject to Valuation on business combination

 

·      Revenue from sales increasing by 170% to £3,146,627 (H1FY23: £1,165,195).

·      Production increasing by 160% to 4,508 tons (H1FY23: 1,731 tons).

·      Gross operating profits increased by 106% YoY to £780,328 despite enlarged workforce and establishment costs for enlarged capacity.

 As production and sales ramp up, the operating margins are expected to improve with economies of scale and asset efficiency.

·      A provisional non-cash gain of £9,562,407, subject to independent third-party valuation, on Bargain Purchase resulting from the acquisition of Suni Resources.

·      Corresponding increase in Corporate and Administrative Costs limited to 81% at £1,831,879 with added subsidiary and capacity growth (H1FY23: £1,010,774).

 

From Unaudited Consolidated Statement of financial position

 

As at

30 Sep 2023

31 March 2023

Total non-current assets

£28,828,389

£14,904,003

Net Current Assets

£4,125,080

£3,837,717

Total non-current liabilities

£2,799,604

£1,893,580

Total Equity

£30,153,864

£16,848,140

 

·      Total non-current assets increased by 93% to £28,828,389 (FY23: £14,904,003) reflecting assets added upon acquisition of Suni.

·      Total equity increased by 79% to £30,153,864 (FY23: £16,848,140) reflecting gain on bargain purchase upon acquisition of Suni.

 

Mozambique Projects acquisition completed

 

·      Acquisition of 100% of the equity of Suni Resources SA, Mozambique, (‘Suni”) from ASX listed Battery Minerals Limited (“BAT”) completed.

·      The Mineral Resource Estimates classified under JORC 2012 at the projects acquired are as tabulated below:

 

 

Project

 

Deposit

Mozambique Group Total Mineral Resource

Tonnes

Mt

TGC

%

Cont. Graphite

kt

Montepuez

Elephant

76.9

7.3

5,620

Buffalo

42.6

9.5

4,050

Balama Central

Lennox

21.9

10.2

2,230

Buffalo

11.0

10.2

1,120

Total

152.5

8.5

12,030

 

Of which combined Probable Ore Reserves are as below:

 

Tirupati Graphite Plc Mozambique Group Probable Ore Reserves

 

Project

Mt

Grade % TGC

Contained Graphite Mt

Balama Central

19.66

11.06

2.17

Montepuez

42.19

9.27

3.91

Total

61.9

10.1

6.08

 

·      Montepuez project mining license over 3,666.88 hectares valid up to 22.02.2043 (and further renewable) is license to build to 100,000 tpa flake graphite production in 2 stages of 50,000 tpa each.

·      BAT initiated construction of 50,000 tpa first module. Planned and executed investment position as acquired are as below:

 

Area

BAT forecast Total Capex US$

Spent to Date US$

Remaining Capex US$

Process Plant and Power

28,129,000

4,160,000

23,969,000

Mining Equipment and Light vehicles

4,378,000

72,000

4,306,000

Camp Infrastructure and fit-out

3,108,000

3,108,000

0

Earthworks, Tailings Storage Facility and Water Storage

3,834,000

3,491,000

343,000

Buildings, offices and workshops

1,814,000

62,300

1,751,700

Owners costs

4,747,000

1,772,000

2,975,000

Pre-production costs

4,926,000

47,000

4,879,000

Freight

1,672,000

389,000

1,283,000

Total

52,608,000

13,101,300

39,506,000

Notes

1) The plan envisages outsourcing of execution of mining activities and certain other logistic facilities that significantly reduced the total investment and the Company believes this is a reasonable approach for many reasons.

2) The Company has verified the assets created out of the amounts spent by BAT prior to its acquisition and believes that development activities conducted by the spend remain productive and substantially in order.

 

·      In terms of studies under JORC 2012 standards, the operating financial parameters of the planned first 50,000 tpa Montepuez project are estimated as below:

 

OPEX for years 1 to 10

US$ PA

US$/t conc

Mining

5,129,000

102.9

Processing

5,692,000

114.3

General and Administrative

2,545,000

30.7

Logistics

3,082,000

51.1

Maintenance

1,532,000

61.9

Total C1 cost

17,980,000

360.9

Notes:

1) Above table excludes Government Royalties.

2) Above table is based on average blended ore for 50,000 tpa production rate and ore at an average rate of ~500,000tpa at 12% TGC resulting from targeted mining of high grade ores in the first 10 years.

3) The above is subject to further reviews that the Company intends to conduct.

 

·      1543.08 hectares Mining License Area of Balama Central project. The project shares its east boundary with the Balama project of ASX listed Syrah Resources Limited.

·      The 2018 DFS promises compelling economics for the project Licensed for development to a 58,000 tpa flake graphite facility with estimated 27 years mine life.

·      Future plans for the project development pathway are under assessment by the Company as inbound inquiries continue and market dynamics evolve.

·      The Mozambique projects together lay the foundation for future growth of the Company’s operations, positioning it to benefit from the growing EV (“Electric Vehicle”) sector demand.

 

Key Market Highlights

 

·    The Graphite markets remained subdued through substantial portion of CY23 due to increased synthetic graphite capacity in China, impacting consumption and prices of natural graphite in Lithium-ion battery sector and also due to the impacts of the Energy Crisis on the conventional graphite markets.

·    However, the end of CY23 saw a turn to this situation specially benefitting ex-China graphite producers.

·    China produced >70% of the total consumption of natural graphite. Additionally, graphite is the only key battery mineral where the supply chain is dependent on a single nation across the value chain from mining to final product for the cell.

·    The Chinese government imposed restrictions on exports of graphite from China, further highlighting the strategic importance of ex-China sources.

·    This initial restrictions led to increased graphite prices from December 2023 onwards, of c.4% as assessed by credible sources.

·    The lack of clarity on these Chinese export restrictions, the ability of one nation to control the supply chain of this classified critical mineral, used not just for the energy transition but also other applications like steel manufacturing, has resulted in graphite taking the centre stage in the current global geopolitical scenario.

·    In December 2023, the USA has issued new guidance that no EVs manufactured in the USA using Chinese made components will be eligible for full subsidies under the US$369Bn Inflation Reduction Act, nor will those EVs that are made by companies with significant ties to the Chinese government or produced with licensing agreement with a China based or Beijing-controlled operator qualify.

 

Impact on Tirupati

·    The Company is one of the handful of significant current producers of graphite ex-China. The Company has received increased inquiries from around the world for supplies of its products, including from OEMs and EV manufacturers. The internal and external developments together during the period give the Company a first mover opportunity with the advantage of having a visible track record of its ability to produce this critical mineral at substantial and growing scale, a competitive cost levels, and in accordance with global Sustainability standards.

·    The Company continued to realise basket prices near those achieved in previous periods in HY23 even in subdued market conditions.

 

Future Market Outlook – The Energy Transition

 

Since the end of the reporting period, recent Graphite export restrictions announced and implemented in China have resulted in some price increases for small and fine flake graphite, as have some prices for traditional sectors using larger flake types due to improving economic conditions in some jurisdictions. This is expected to continue as the energy transition continues its momentum globally and graphite demand is forecast by the likes of Benchmark Minerals Intelligence to outstrip supply from 2025. Little additional capacity outside China is currently forecast to become available to serve the increased demand by that time.

 

In October, China announced the introduction of export restrictions on Graphite products from 1 December 2023.

 

The deficit of graphite is expected to arise from demand coming a growing number of battery manufacturing plants, or gigafactories, that are set to finish construction, begin production and therefore grow the overall demand for the competitively priced critical minerals such as the natural graphite required for most battery chemistries. This future demand is expected to provide strong moves in the pricing of small and fine flake graphite sizes that are most commonly used for the energy storage and battery sectors. The small and fine flake sizes make up the majority of the Company’s Mozambique project product baskets.

 

Electric vehicle uptake continues to grow across the world with China hitting record monthly EV sales during the period despite the end of available subsidies there, with EV sales in China growing 29% year on year. Elsewhere, in North America, sales in the period grew 78% in North American and 34% on average globally, and EVs look to continue to grow their market share which will continue to increase demand for critical minerals such as natural graphite.

 

The push to diversify supply chains to reduce economic dependence of certain nations is acutely illustrated in the form of the current Graphite supply chain. China alone dominates the Natural Graphite industry across its entire value chain, from mining to advanced processing, retaining >75% of its global value. The likes of the aforementioned graphite export restrictions, and more rules and legislation being introduced in the rest of the world whereby considerations of the provenance of raw materials are placed front and centre as eligibility criteria for automotive manufacturers and OEMs to receive sought after incentives under the likes of the US Inflation Reduction Act and EU Critical Raw Materials Act to stimulate diversified supply chains and boost security of supply, is therefore extremely relevant for natural graphite as there are so few current producers outside China. The combined factors above are further expected to result in upward price pressure for graphite and substantial demand specially for ex-China graphite.

 

There is also a consensus forming that prices for material sourced from outside China may attract a premium should the material conform to the highest international standards of Sustainability.

 

The Company’s focus has been on gaining ex-China market share in order to establish its presence and position itself well for the future forecasted demand that will arise for graphite from these ex-China markets to supply anode, battery and automotive manufacturers in these same markets in the years to come.

 

TG Markets and marketing developments

 

TG continued to spread its global footprint in developing markets both for its current and future markets recording a significant increase in sales to the United States of America while continuing to grow in Europe and Asia as depicted in the table below:

 

 

USA

Europe

Asia

Total

Half year ended 30 Sep 2023

£608,893

£432,142

£2,105,592

£3,146,627

Half year ended 30 Sep 2022

 

  £398,120

£767,075

£1,165,195

The current order book and engagements remains sufficient for the Company to sell its growing production in the immediate term and the company remains in standby mode to activate increased business with its existing customers and with those it has achieved qualification.

 

The company has also engaged with key players in the ex-China EV sector, both automakers and manufacturers of EV batteries or anodes looking to secure their flake graphite needs and is at various stages of prospective business development with different companies. These stages include entering into Non-Disclosure Agreements, General Supply Terms and Conditions Agreements, providing information about the Company’s projects and product samples for approval. Negotiations on possible offtake agreements are ongoing though the current subdued markets remain a challenge to address future price basis and the Company remains conscious in its approach towards possible future price trends as the markets turn from oversupply to shortfall. The Company believes that the geopolitical uncertainties driven policy evolution, progress of construction of various battery projects and resultant imminent shortage of ex-China flake graphite products used in the battery space shall help it secure prudent offtake arrangements on the back of its successful developments at Madagascar and prospects of the Mozambique assets and remains well prepared for expeditious development of additional capacities at appropriate time under appropriate market arrangements.

 

To date, the Company has strategically been gaining market share for itself supplying customers outside of China and all sales have been made to consumers outside China. The urgency with which legislation and incentives are evolving in the rest of the world provide the Company with a significant opportunity to be at the forefront of natural graphite supply for the global energy transition. As an advanced, low-cost, ex-China current producer it is staged to serve markets that are set to grow at speed and scale in the coming years. As a result, the Company would like to accelerate its development to further position itself for further significant business development

Future Outlook and Strategy

In line with evolving markets, the Company remains focussed on its step-by-step approach to targeting the following

·      Considering an average head grade of c.3% across the two Madagascar projects, the Company will add two pre-concentrate units and ramp up production and sales in Madagascar to steady state of 2,000 tons per month in the minimum possible time.

·      Simultaneously, further work will be done to enhance the effective production and sales rate to 3,000 tons per month by adding further two PCU’s and enhancing Vatomina FCU capacity to 18,000 tpa.

The Company is extensively engaged on various options to meet the related capital requirements to achieve its targets  as it continues its efforts to ramp up production and sales within its current resources.

·      Targeting a total production of 104,000 tpa across its projects by establishing the next 18,000 tpa module in Madagascar, and first 50,000 tpa module at Montepuez.

·      Extensive new ex-China battery capacities are expected to come online by 2025 and inbound inquiries justify the developments above.

·      Add further capacities in sync with markets remaining flexible on location.

·      The Company has engaged with DFIs (“Development Finance Institutions”) for project finance arrangements for the development of the larger new capacities.

 

 

Unaudited Half-Yearly Results – 07:00:02 28 Dec 2023 – TGR News article | London Stock Exchange

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