One hundred job opportunities for future graphite mine

Australia's largest known graphite deposit, discovered two years ago on the Siviour's farming land near Arno Bay, could bring 100 permanent jobs to the area, says mineral resources company Renascor. 

The deposit was discovered during a search for uranium, using an airborne electro-magnetic survey, and the extent of the shallow deposit was soon realised, stretching about two kilometres in length. 

The company bought all rights to the Siviour Graphite Project in 2018, and look to purchase land this year after they obtain an independent appraisal.

They gained mining approval at the end of 2018, and are waiting on a mining lease approval while conducting their Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS), which they hope to complete in the next quarter.  

Managing director of Renascor Resources David Christensen said construction could begin by the end of the year pending financing. 

"Although Siviour is a relatively recent discovery, it's not that far away from final investment decision, and we could be producing graphite as early as 2020," he said. 

Mr Christensen said the deposit was a "world-beater" because it was in a good capital position, being relatively low-cost compared to other mineral mines, and won't transport as much material, estimating it at about 142,000 tonnes of graphite transported in a year once up and running. 

"Advanced manufacturing on site is also a possibility," he said. 

"The idea would be to use spherical graphite for lithium ion batteries….graphite is agnostic to technological advancement in these batteries." 

Mr Christensen believes there is "real potential" to step into the industry, manufacturing onsite once a graphite mine is established. 

Construction of the mine is expected to bring 100-150 local jobs from locations like Whyalla and Port Lincoln, and surrounding districts, with 100 operational jobs once the mine is established.

He said there is potential for workers to reside in Arno Bay, and local businesses such as trucking companies will also be employed by the project. 

Chairman Richard Keevers said there were definite parallels between local workers here and potential workers for the mine. 

"The benefit of the workforce we intend to have is not only their skills, but many are also daughters and sons of farmers and have a great work ethic," he said. 

Mr Christensen said the unique shape of the Siviour project, being shallow and horizontal, gave it several advantages. 

"Other deposits tend to be 'carrot' shapes or vertical lenses, so you have to dig deeper and at a higher cost," he said. 

"It's not just the size (of Siviour), but it's orientated in this matter making it a low cost project." 

The initial start-up of the project is budgeted at $29 million.