Blencowe acquired the Orom-Cross Graphite Project in April 2020 from the Australian Firm, Consolidated African Mineral Resources Co Ltd which was handed a 21-year-long mining license in 2019 by the government.
A map showing the Orom-cross graphite project area. credit, Blencowe resources Plc
The construction of the Orom-Cross Graphite mining facility in Orom East Sub-county, Kitgum
district in Northern Uganda will kick off next year, Vincent Kedi, the Assistant
Commissioner of Licensing and Administration in the Minister of Energy has revealed. According to Kedi, Blencowe Resources Limited, a UK firm licensed for the project will start
shipping mining equipment next year.
Kedi however didn’t specify the
exact date and month, but noted that the shipment of the mining equipment will kick-start
the mine development process for graphite, an important mineral in the global energy
transition. Blencowe acquired the Orom-Cross
Graphite Project in April 2020 from the Australian Firm, Consolidated African
Mineral Resources Co Ltd which was handed a 21-year-long mining license in 2019 by the government.
Kedi says the firm is currently undertaking
feasibility studies in the Orom Sub-county, where massive graphite resources
have been discovered. “They have discovered some
massive resources of graphite, they are now concluding the utilized contest,
part of the feasibility study before they are able to bring in equipment
sometime next year to start the mine development process,” he says.
Adding “It’s going to be a good
project for the country and we wish the investor well." According to Kedi, an estimated 2
billion tons of graphite resources have so far been discovered in the area of
Orom Sub-county. The graphite resources cover some 19 km in length and 2 km in
width and are shallow in nature. He also notes that Blencowe Resources
is conducting metallurgical tests on the graphite composite samples that were
shipped out from Orom Sub-County.
Information Uganda Radio Network
obtained, indicates the government through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development
early this year approved the export of graphite samples from the Orom-Cross
Graphite project to Jilin Huiyang New Material Technology Company (JHNMTC), a
According to a January
publication by the Mining Weekly, a premier source of weekly news on mining developments
in Africa, the approval permits the export of 100 tons of bulk raw ore
materials and 400 liters of local groundwater, to enable Blencowe to export a
representative bulk sample from the initial five years of production.
The graphite samples according to
the publication are expected to be used to assess the metallurgical processes
on a commercial scale, including differing plant components to increase the
grade, recovery, and flake sizing from the Orom-Cross graphite project. Although a section of the public
raised concerns about the vast quantity of samples taken for metallurgical tests
in China, Kedi says the process is necessary for designing a processing plant.
“Sometimes when you want to
optimize the design of the processing plants, you have to run trial tests. there are what we call metallurgical firms
that fabricate equipment for miners, sometimes to be able to know whether that equipment
works for you, you have to take a bulk sample so that they run it through,” he
told Uganda Radio Network.
According to Kedi, the government
has already started the process of compensating the project-affected persons in
the project site as the operator moves to the third stage of the mine development. At least 289 project-affected
persons were identified by the government in the villages of Nagolopak, Lobale,
Locomo Central, and Loperu all in Akurumou Parish in Orom East Sub-county, two
kilometers from the project site.
Uganda Radio Network understands
that the government initiated the first phase of the ten installment phases of compensation
to the project-affected persons in 2020 with 700 million Shillings disbursed. The
second phase of the compensation totaling about 665 million Shillings is
expected before the end of this year, while the third phase will be paid in
Adam Luwok, the Chairperson of
Lucomo Communal Land Association says the affected communities are satisfied
with the commitment of the Orom-Cross graphite project operator. He notes that Blencowe
Resources Limited has so far fulfilled the surface rights agreement with the
community which has seen 25 students benefiting from scholarship funds.
“Looking at their commitment, the
company hasn’t gone against its obligation and this is something in the
memorandum of understanding. Maybe in the next six to seven years, we believe
that they will have finished compensating us,” says Luwok.
He notes that the association members
have also acquired two tractors which has helped them to shift from subsistence
agriculture to semi-commercial agriculture. According to the government, the graphite
project in Orom is expected to place the country in the global position on the energy
transition as the transport sector moves to green energy.
Graphite has many
benefits and can be processed and used in lithium-ion batteries, and carbon
electrodes among others. Blencowe Resources Limited
expects to have the first phase of graphite production by 2025 and requires an initial capital of US$62 Million.
Bureau Chief, West Acholi