Employment will be sourced from Whyalla if construction of a mine at the Siviour Graphite Project – the fifth-largest deposit of graphite in the world – goes ahead.
The 50 million tonne deposit, which is located 150km southwest of the steel city, could generate jobs in the low triple figures during construction and in full-time employment.
Renascor Resources, who are currently undertaking the study phase of the project, recently announced that high-grade graphite concentrates had been produced from the deposit during a pilot plant operation.
Managing Director David Christensen said if the construction of a mine were to go ahead, the company would look to source employment from surrounding areas including Whyalla and Port Lincoln.
“If we proceed in the operation, we would be depending on Whyalla for a large part of the workforce to get things up and operating,” he said.
“We’re definitely hoping to take advantage of the skilled workforce in the area. It’s the kind of workforce very well suited to this type of development.”
Mr Christensen said it wasn’t unusual to find graphite underground but it was hard to find it in large concentrations near the surface.
“We are growing in confidence that Siviour will be a globally-significant graphite mine,” he said.
Renascor Resources are currently investigating the economic viability of the project through the Siviour Definitive Feasibility Study.
Their goal is to finance the mine in 2019 and begin construction by the end of that year ‘if everything goes to plan’. Rensacor are looking at producing more than 100,000 tonnes of graphite a year from the mine.
Graphite is a key component of lithium-ion batteries used to power technology like laptops, mobile phones and electric cars. Global demand for graphite is expected to triple by 2020.
In another favourable sign for the future of the Siviour project, Renascor Resources recently entered into a strategic partnership with global engineering company Royal IHC.
Royal IHC contributed $1 million to ensure that Renascor can can ‘continue to rapidly advance the Siviour Definitive Feasibility Study’.