Sarytogan Graphite Limited has two graphite projects in Kazakhstan. The flagship and namesake deposit is the Sarytogan Graphite Project located in the Karaganda (Qaraghandy) province of Central Kazakhstan (Figure 1), which is progressing though a Pre-Feasibility Study. The company is also exploring for graphite at the Kenesar Graphite Exploration Project in the Akmola (Aqmola) province of Northern Kazakhstan (Figure 1).
The Sarytogan GRaphite Project
The Sarytogan deposit is located in the Karaganda region of Central Kazakhstan (Figure 1). It is located in the industrial mining area and is connected by highway to Karaganda city (190 km) and to the capital Nur-Sultan (390 km). The nearest towns are Aksu (55 km) and Kenshoky (6 km), with populations of 5,000 and 1,300 respectively.
The exploration licence 1139-R-TPI (1139-Р-ТПИ) was issued to Ushtogan LLP on 14 August 2018 and confirmed by 5406-TPI (5406-ТПИ) contract on 26 October 2018 and renewed in June 2022. The exploration concession covers 70 km2.
Structurally, the Sarytogan site is confined to the western and southwestern limb of the Shiyozek fold, complicated by the large curved Sarytoganbai syncline which trends in northeast and east directions. The overall structural plan of this fold is additionally complicated by numerous plicative and disjunctive dislocations, which led to the creation smaller in size folds; flexure like folds and overturned structures are often observed.
The west limb of the Sarytoganbai syncline is composed of rhyolite porphyry tuffs and rhyolite porphyry containing interlayers of grit, sandstone and limestone. The east limb of the Sarytoganbai syncline is characterised by sandstone, shale, siltstone, limestone and calcareous sandstones that are exposed to the surface. The axial part of this fold is formed by complexly dislocated carbonaceous black and grey sandstones, siltstones and shales, grit, and conglomerates of lower Carboniferous age.
The southwestern part of the site is composed of dark grey carbonaceous siltstones with interlayers and lenses of dark-grey variously grained sandstones, grey, brownish-grey sandstones, and siltstone. Most of this area is covered with loose Quaternary sediments.
The magmatic formations of the deposit area are represented by the Aleksandrovsky granite dome, exposed in the northeast part of the Sarytogan site. The shape of the dome is ellipsoidal, with dimensions of 1.5 km x 1.8 km. The intrusion cuts through the carbonate-terrigenous sediments in the central part of the anticline structure and cuts through a small segment of carbonaceous aleurolites and schists. The host rocks along the contact of the Aleksandrovsky dome are altered to skarns, intensively opalized and hornfelsed.
The site has a dense network of faults, the largest of which are clearly visible in the aerial photographs. Faults are mainly of northeast, sub meridional directions. Secondary faults of near-latitude and northwest directions further complicate the geology of the site.
In general, the Sarytogan site is a large, over-intrusion contact metamorphism zone. The volcanic and sedimentary rocks have undergone extensive contact metamorphism; volcanogenic and terrigenous rocks are transformed into quartz-biotite, quartz-sericite hornfels; carbonaceous rocks are either altered into hornfels, or underwent significant graphitisation, and along contacts with intrusive granite domes, quartz-tourmaline and tourmaline hydrothermal rocks of the greisen type are developed. Carbonate rocks are altered to wollastonite rich rocks of varying intensity, or turned into quartz-wollastonite, wollastonite garnet skarns.
Graphite-bearing black carbonaceous shale, black carbonaceous siltstones and sandstone overlain by grey to dark grey weakly carbonaceous siltstones and sandstones form narrow and extensive folds. These folds surround from the north, west and south, a rigidly elevated block of sediments in plan, composing an anticlinal structure with steep dip angles.
As a result of exploration, two large zones of graphitised sediments were identified in the Sarytogan area: Central and North graphite zones (Figure 2).
The Central zone, located in the central part of the Sarytogan deposit, extends from the south-southwest to the northeast for 2,900 m with a width from 45 to 90 m on the northeast flank to 200-450 m in the centre and 70 m in the southeast west flank. This is a narrow syncline fold complicated on the limbs due to the intrusion of the granite massif and tectonic movements.
The graphite rocks of the zone are represented by graphite schists, siltstones and sandstones.
The Company announced an upgraded Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource on 27 March 2023 of 229Mt @ 28.9% Total Graphitic Carbon (TGC) (Table 1).
The KENESAR GRaphite EXPLORATION Project
Kenesar is located in Akmola Province, northern Kazakhstan (Figure 1). The region has well-developed infrastructure of highway roads, railways and high-voltage powerlines. The Kenesar area is connected by highway to Kazakhstan’s capital Astana (270km) and is 40km away from regional centre Kokshetau city (population 170,000). The nearest railway station is 15km away by bitumen road. The distance by highway from the Sarytogan Graphite Project to the Kenesar Exploration Project is 660km.
Sarytogan Graphite Limited’s 100% owned subsidiary company Ushtogan LLP has now been granted an exploration licence to explore 150 graticular blocks (309 km2) for minerals.
The geology at Kenesar consists of Pre-Cambrian strata-formations controlled by NW-striking regional structures of the Kokshetau Shield (Figur e 3).
The Pre-Cambrian formations are represented by a variety of regionally metamorphosed rocks: quartz-muscovite schists, gneisses, chlorite-biotite- and garnet-sillimanite schists. The strata-formations are intensively folded and overprinted by predominately NW-trending regional faults.
The strata-bound graphite mineralization occurs in quartzites and various schists as bands, lenses and disseminated crystals (Figure 1). The extension of the graphite-bearing formations within Kenesar tenement is 30km by width 3 to 8km.
According to historic mineralogical studies, the concentration of the graphite varies in thin sections from 5% to 25%. Crystals of graphite have also been observed in thin sections of rocks sampled from Kenesar by Sarytogan’s geological team (Figure 4). Visual estimates of mineral abundance should, however, never be considered a proxy or substitute for laboratory analyses where metal concentrations or grades are the factor of principal economic interest. Visual estimates also potentially provide no information regarding potential impurities or deleterious physical properties relevant to valuations of some mineral commodities such as graphite and many industrial minerals.
The Pre-Cambrian graphitic schists at Kenesar are prospective for graphite mineralisation. In contrast to the Sarytogan Graphite Deposit, which was formed by contact metamorphism, the rocks at Kenesar have been subject to regional metamorphism. This geology is known to host flake graphite deposits elsewhere globally. Any economic graphite mineralisation discovered at Kenesar could be complementary to the premium micro-crystalline graphite at Sarytogan’s flagship Sarytogan Graphite Deposit.