SRG shareholder hopes Chinese investment will fast track company’s graphite development

Lola graphite project. Credit: SRG Mining.

La Mancha Resource Capital said on Monday that the investment by Carbon ONE New Energy Group (C-ONE) into SRG Mining (TSXV: SRG) would help advance SRG’s objective of becoming a Western leader in natural graphite anode production.

Specifically, the firm, which acts as advisor to La Mancha Resource Fund, the largest shareholder of SRG, hopes the investment “will fast-track SRG’s development timeline and result in substantial cost savings associated with building a graphite anode plant sufficient to meet battery manufacturer standards.”

By sharing its industry-leading know-how in constructing and operating anode plants, La Mancha believes C-ONE is the ideal partner to boost SRG’s expertise and places it ahead of its Western competitors, La Mancha stated.

“We hope that C-ONE’s recent construction of an anode plant in China will yield valuable synergies during SRG’s feasibility study and construction phases,” Vincent Benoit, partner and co-chief investment officer of La Mancha, commented in Monday’s press release.

Completion of the transaction is expected to occur by or in Q1 2024.

Deal background

Earlier this month, C-ONE, a private anode materials company based in China, announced that it plans to invest C$16.9 million ($12.7 million) into SRG in exchange for 19.4% of SRG’s share capital, matching La Mancha’s stake in the company upon exercise of its anti-dilution right.

The funds will be used to advance SRG’s large-scale mine development project in the Republic of Guinea ─ the Lola graphite project ─ as well as the development of an anode material plant, the location of which is yet to be determined.

“The investment allows SRG to benefit from C-ONE’s extensive technical experience and globally recognized brand to position SRG as a fully integrated producer of battery anode material. The development of this critical component of EV batteries will help the world meet its carbon emission reduction targets to combat climate change,” Matthieu Bos, CEO of SRG, commented at the time.

“The investment will allow SRG to advance the development of the Lola graphite project as well as accelerate the development of a large-scale industrial facility to produce 100,000 tonnes per annum coated, spheroidized and purified graphite.”

Located approximately 1,000 km southeast of Conakry, the capital of Guinea, the Lola deposit boasts a large mineral reserve of 42 million tonnes at a grade of 4.17% graphitic carbon (Cg). Over an estimated mine life of 29 years, it is expected to produce 54,600 tonnes of natural flake graphite annually.

SRG is currently updating the project’s feasibility study to confirm the capital and operating costs for a target initial production of 100,000 tonnes per annum, double from the initial 50,000 tpa envisioned in the 2019 FS.