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Orom Graphite Project: Construction of Mines to Start in 2024 :: Uganda Radionetwork

Orom Graphite Project: Construction of Mines to Start in 2024

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 Chinese firm.

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 December 2024.

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.

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