ASX-listed Walkabout Resources has started commissioning activities at its Lindi Jumbo graphite mine, in Tanzania, another step toward full operation and critical minerals producer status.
The commissioning process includes pre-commissioning, dry commissioning and wet commissioning.
“The start of commissioning marks an exciting new chapter in the Lindi Jumbo story and is testament to the skill and exceptional work of our construction team and contractors. We are confident that the dry commissioning will proceed smoothly following independent QA/QC during factory acceptance testing in China.
“The Jinpeng team has done a wonderful job to date and the impressive commissioning team we have assembled puts us in good stead for successful go live and first graphite production in the first quarter of 2024,” Walkabout CEO and MD Andrew Cunningham said.
The company noted that a high-performance team comprising Jinpeng graphite processing specialists and senior technical staff from Lindi Jumbo’s operational team has been mobilised and is focused on safety and reliability of commissioning and start-up. All members have a record in graphite and process plant commissioning with competence in design, maintenance and operational analysis.
A staged commissioning schedule is planned to occur on the fully completed sections of the plant and will proceed sequentially.
Pre-commissioning activities have been under way for several weeks and include the inspection and confirmation of working parts, bearings, idlers, cabling, wiring, emergency stops, V-belts, pump and motor specifications, installation and splicing of the conveyors, motor control centre (MCC) connections, safety guards and the necessary corrections or modifications as deemed fit.
The current electricity generating capacity on site is sufficient to dry commission individual circuits or sections of the plant. However, further electrical components (medium- and low-voltage switchgear and transformers) required for wet commissioning have been delayed for multiple weeks due to congestion at the Dar es Salaam port.
Once receipt of the transformers (outer anchorage in Dar es Salaam) and switching gear (currently being offloaded) has taken place, it is expected that the full 5 MW of grid power will become available to advance wet commissioning. The full planned electrical capacity (including backup generators) is necessary before the commissioning team will feed ore through the entire processing circuit.
Under the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, the Lindi Jumbo plant is only considered to have been formally commissioned when the entire plant has been run – uninterrupted – at its nameplate capacity for a 48-hour period. Any rectification work required prior to the plant being formally commissioned is the responsibility of the EPC contractor.