The Development Finance Corporation from the United States of America is now officially the lead mandated funder for the Orom Cross graphite project in Kitgum district after it issued $1 million of the agreed $5 million grant to the project developer Blencowe Resources Plc.
The money will cater for part of the costs that Blencowe is incurring as it undertakes a Definitive Feasibility Study to assess the commercial viability of the project.
Blencowe says that the Orom Cross graphite project is “one of the largest graphite projects worldwide by size and scale of deposit.”
The company estimates the amount of graphite deposits at Orom Cross to be in the range of two to three billion tonnes. Blencowe, a UK-listed company, says the completion of a Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) will allow the company undertake roadshows among different financial institutions as they seek investment capital to move the Orom Cross graphite project to production. One of the associated with the project.
The company had targeted to complete the DFS by the end of this year, although that time does not look achievable at the moment, with a more reasonable schedule pointing towards the end of the first quarter of 2024. This might also push the production target year of 2025 further ahead.
The Orom Cross project already has a 21-year mining license from Uganda’s government. Graphite is one of the key minerals needed for the production of electric batteries. Blencowe says the global growth of electric cars is set to hit 100 million by 2030, from the nearly 20 million today.
The company adds that there are about 300 mega battery factories that will launch their production lines over the next eight - 10 years as the world gradually shifts from dirty fossil fuels to cleaner energies.
However, the graphite industry is not without its challenges. Key among them is the limited funding available for new projects such as the Orom Cross. Blencowe estimates that the initial investment capital needed for the Orom Cross is $62 million.