Mineral Commodities (MRC) has started decline mining operations at the Trælen Graphite Mine in Norway, through its subsidiary Skaland Graphite.

Through the mining operations, the company intends to access the decline of the main Trælen deposit. The Trælen mine is operational since 2007.

Moreover, MRC plans to undertake down-dip development at the Trælen mine to access additional known resources beneath the already mined out up-dip resources of the deposit.

By backfill the down-dip development waste into the current mining void, the firm plans to facilitate safe access to further up-dip resources while eliminating mine waste disposal.

MRC acting CEO Russell Tipper said: “The commencement of decline mining represents a new chapter in the life of Traelen mining operations, which until now have been following the graphite ore up the mountain.

“It not only supports continued processing operations at Skaland but also our exploration and infill drilling programme targeting the delivery of an expanded resource base and the first mineral reserve estimate for Traelen in the coming months.

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“In parallel, we are progressing metallurgical testwork to support an expansion of production at Skaland with the delivery of a PFS in early Q4.”

Mineral Commodities purchased Skaland Graphite, which operates the Trælen mine and the Skaland processing plant, in 2019.

Following the acquisition, MRC re-evaluated the mineral resources in the Trælen mine by re-logging, re- sampling and re-assaying of drilling core, to build a 3D block model of the deposit.

The firm now plans to deploy anode strategy to produce natural anode material using low-cost renewable energy.

It also intends to implement eco-friendly purifying technology to address European demand for sustainably manufactured lithium-ion batteries.

MRC aims to increase production at Skaland mine from 10,000tpa in 2020-2022 to 16,000tpa in 2023-2024.