Wednesday, 1 March 2023

Metals Australia achieves 99.96% Cg spherical graphite purity at ‘high-grade’ Lac Rainy Project

by Berkeley Lovelace

Metals Australia achieves 99.96% Cg spherical graphite purity at ‘high-grade’ Lac Rainy Project

Metals Australia (ASX:MLS) has achieved 99.96% Cg spherical graphite purity, exceeding 99.95% Cg premium battery grade, in metallurgical test work on flake graphite concentrate from the company’s ‘high-grade’ Lac Rainy Graphite Project.

The company reports the premium battery grade purity and physical properties of the Lac Rainy spherical graphite product have exceeded the specifications required by lithium-ion battery anode manufacturers.

Lac Rainy is situated in one of the world’s premier graphite regions in Quebec, Canada. The spherical graphite (SpG) testwork was carried out by the specialist graphite testing group, ProGraphite, in Germany, on Lac Rainy flake graphite concentrate which was re-assayed, producing a higher concentrate grade of 96.3% Cg (Loss on Ignition – LOI) than the original assay at SGS in Canada.

The test work included 3 critical stages leading to the production of the high-quality, 99.96% Cg purified premium spherical graphite product.

The achievement of premium battery-grade spherical graphite with ‘outstanding physical’ properties has demonstrated the high-quality of the Lac Rainy graphitic material, particularly for production of high-quality spherical graphite to supply lithium-ion battery anode manufacturers.

In parallel with finalising the electrochemical (battery) test work in Germany, the company will now look to rapidly advance the Lac Rainy project towards development.

Chairman Mike Scivolo says: “The achievement of premium battery grade spherical graphite purity, exceeding the specifications required by global lithium-ion battery manufacturers and using environmentally responsible, cost-effective methods – is an outstanding outcome for the company.

This places the Lac Rainy Project in the top tier of high-quality graphite projects, with an ideal location close to North American markets where demand for such high-quality graphite products is high.

 “This places the Lac Rainy Project in the top tier of high-quality graphite projects”

We will now rapidly advance the project towards development, in parallel with finalising electrochemical test work in Germany and advancing discussions with potential offtakers.”

Electrochemical (battery charging and durability) testing of the high purity spherical graphite has commenced. This work will test the performance of the spherical graphite as an anode material in lithium-ion batteries and will involve multiple testing cycles designed to measure the discharge efficiency of the material (irreversible capacity loss) and its durability or specific capacity (driving battery life).

ProGraphite has advised that the electrochemical test work will take about 10 weeks. The company anticipates strong results from the electrochemical test work, based on the premium battery-grade purity and outstanding physical properties of the Lac Rainy spherical graphite.

The identified Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource of 13.3Mt @ 11.5% Cg (including Indicated: 9.6Mt @ 13.1% Cg and Inferred: 3.7Mt @ 7.3% Cg) is on the Carheil Trend, where only 1.6km of a 6km strike-length zone of identified graphite occurrences has been tested to date.

The resource remains open along strike and at depth, indicating immediate upside for significant growth. Further potential for resource growth has been identified on the West Carheil Trend where results averaging over 20% Cg, up to 28.5% Cg were produced in previous sampling by the company.

In total, over 20km strike length of graphitic trends have been identified through electromagnetics (EM) and/or mapping on the property, including the 1.6km strike-length resource zone drilled to date.

Trenching and sampling will continue to test identified graphitic outcrops prior to initial drill testing. The company has identified more than 10 times the strike-length of graphitic trends than the 1.6km on the Carheil Trend that has been drilled to date. This highlights the potential for resource growth within the project, which will be drill-tested in upcoming programs.

Preparations have commenced for a broad-spaced drilling and trenching program to expand Lac Rainy’s outstanding high-grade graphite resource potential.

Images: Metals Australia Ltd