International Graphite eyes progress with dual development programs in Western Australia

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By Colin Hay - 
International Graphite ASX IG6 batteries technology quarterly activities

Western Australian battery anode material (BAM) producer International Graphite (ASX: IG6) is well-placed to continue progressing its dual development programs.

Cashed-up entering the new year, International Graphite is rapidly advancing its innovative WA ‘mine-to-market’ projects to meet global demand for high performance lithium-ion batteries.

The company owns 100% of the Springdale Graphite project near Hopetoun in WA’s south.

Springdale was named “Discovery of the Year” at the 2023 Australian Mining Prospect Awards in November, following a 240% increase in the mineral resource estimate (MRE) announced in September.

That MRE saw the total Springdale estimate grow from 15.3 million tonnes at 6.0% total graphitic carbon (TGC) to 49.3Mt at 6.5% TGC, making it one of the largest graphite deposits.

International Graphite has also gained good recognition for its pilot scale graphite micronising and spheroidising plant and research and development (R&D) facility in the town of Collie, 200km south of Perth.

Both assets are important components in the company’s plans to establish comprehensive downstream graphite processing and BAM facilities in Collie.

Scoping study wrapping up

International Graphite is currently in the final stages of a scoping study at Springdale, where the company intends to develop its main source of graphite concentrate feed for its downstream needs.

The September MRE is a key component of this scoping study, although there is plenty of upside with significant exploration potential still to be tested on the company’s tenements.

The company is considering testing areas to the north and west of Springdale, as well as north and south of Mason Bay, for future investigation in an area that is comparable in size with the existing MRE area.

Collie plant relationship

The results of the Springdale scoping study will also be used to update the Collie BAM facility study released in April 2023.

A pilot-scale bulk metallurgical testwork program has been completed using reverse circulation chips from the 2022-2023 Springdale drilling campaign.

Approximately 1.5t of ore from both the existing Springdale mineral resource and new graphite discoveries at Springdale Central and Mason Bay have been collated and processed through the pilot concentrator facilities at the ALS geochemical laboratories in Perth.

Approximately 125kg of graphite concentrate was produced and will be used to progress feasibility assessment of International Graphite’s planned mine at Springdale and its downstream processing trials at Collie.

Graphite micronising facility

Installation of the new qualification scale graphite micronising plant has been completed at the company’s R&D facility in Collie.

The plant is a significant advancement on the company’s existing pilot plant, which was the first of its kind in Australia when it was commissioned in September 2022.

The qualification-scale plant has been designed with a capacity to produce between 100 and 200tpa of micronised graphite and will produce a sample product to launch the International Graphite brand in world markets.

Micronised graphite is used as a conductive additive in battery cathodes, as an intermediate product in the production of purified spheroidised graphite and in a wide range of industrial materials and applications.

It is the first step in the production of purified and coated spheroidised graphite needed for battery anodes.

The new equipment will also be used for testwork on graphite concentrates prepared from drill core from Springdale.

This will assist in qualification of the Springdale graphite material.