Gratomic said that commissioning will begin with the crushing circuit and progress through other areas of the plant systematically.
There are six progressive steps to the phase, and the facility is currently in direction testing (C2). This stage, it said, involves energising equipment and ensuring rotation in the right direction, along with stroking the control systems, calibrating instruments and verifying protections.
The entire process includes: C0 - Constructed to design including factory acceptance; C1 - Pre-commissioning; C2 - Direction testing; C3 - No load/Dry commissioning; C4 - Load/Wet commissioning; C5 - Project completion.
Once the company obtains its expected results on stage C2 at Aukam, it will progress into C3 to C5 with the goal of seeing the entire plant perform according to project parameters and in a sustainable matter.
Armando Farhate COO and head of graphite marketing and sales stressed that it is essential to advance with the commissioning steps with engineering good practices and using all of Gratomic's available resources.
"On the 2nd of March, we went silent as an exploration company. We are preparing to go live with a mining company," chief executive and president Arno Brand added.
"Nothing evokes a more powerful emotional response than one of revival after a down spell, and as a CEO I couldn't be prouder to be entering this important commissioning phase."
Gratomic noted that no mineral resources, let alone mineral reserves demonstrating economic viability and technical feasibility, have been delineated at Aukam. As such, there is no guarantee of production, and no promise that its anticipated production costs will be achieved.
If it does come to fruition, the Aukam graphite project will be utilised as part of Gratomic's proposed eco-friendly processing cycle, under which it will meet North American battery-grade standards for use in Li-ion battery anodes.
There are already two off-take purchase agreements for lump-vein graphite sourced from Aukam. Fulfillment is anticipated to begin in the current quarter.