Australian minerals developer Walkabout Resources has started the wet commissioning process at its crushing circuit in the Lindi Jumbo graphite mine in Tanzania.

It is the first instance of graphite ore being processed through the entire crushing circuit.

The operation further mitigates the risk associated with the mine’s start-up by creating a stockpile of high-grade graphite ore.

The 19,000t from the existing ore stockpile will be used for the commissioning process, providing enough material for a full month’s production at the mine’s projected capacity.

Walkabout intends to build up its high-grade and medium-grade stockpiles on the run-of-mine pad once operational mining commences. These stockpiles will contain more than 20% and 10% total graphitic carbon (TGC), respectively.

This will ensure optimal grade feed to the plant and a smooth transition to the mine’s expected ore throughput and recovery rates, the company said.

Dry commissioning on the equipment is taking place within the grinding and flotation circuit and the commissioning works will continue in preparation for feed through of the entire processing circuit.

Walkabout Resources managing director and CEO Andrew Cunningham said: “It is great to see the first feed of Lindi Jumbo Graphite ore and the first part of the plant operating as designed.

“Additionally, as the operations team starts to prepare for full production the fine ore stockpile will give them a flying start by de-risking the source of ore for the concentrator over the coming months.”

Located in the south-east of the country, the Lindi Jumbo graphite mine is located within the highly prospective Mozambique belt, known for its coarse flake graphite deposits.

The mine has a life of 24 years and is expected to generate A$1.4bn in revenue. The pre-tax net present value is A$335m and its post-tax internal rate of return is 142%.

The annual average earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation is A$44.1m.