Another step has been taken toward purified spherical graphite with iTech Minerals (ASX: ITM) producing the key ingredient in the form of high purity flake fine graphite.
The company reports that, at its Campoona project in South Australia, the number of processing steps has been reduced from 11 — in laboratory scale processing — to eight in bulk sampling production. This suggests that more cost-effective processing methods are achievable, iTech adds.
Now the average purity of about 94% total graphitic carbon has been secured, and 99% of the graphite flakes are less than the small flake size used for high purity fine graphite.
In all, 42kg of final concentrate was produced from 407kg of processed material.
Tests to produce graphite for Li-ion battery anodes
iTech Minerals listed on the ASX last October to undertake exploring for and developing battery materials and critical minerals within its 100% owned Australian projects.
The company is exploring for kaolinite-halloysite, regolith-hosted rare earth element (REE) mineralisation and developing the Campoona spherical graphite project in South Australia.
A scoping study has been commissioned for the graphite project and results are expected by the end of the year.
The former owner Archer Materials (ASX: AXE) completed a scoping study in 2016 that included a mineral resource estimate.
In 2021, iTech commissioned Germany company ANZAPLAN to perform test work that would produce spherical purified graphite for use in lithium-ion battery anodes.
‘Low cost, eco-friendly’ plan
ANZAPLAN is focusing on plans for a low-cost, eco-friendly flowsheet with a smaller environmental footprint.
The scoping study will determine capital needs and operating costs of the mine, process plant (concentration, spheroidisation and purification) as well as bulk infrastructure and tailings storage.
Campoona has a current mineral resource of 8.55 million tonnes at 9% total graphitic carbon, but iTech believes it could “significantly” expand the resource at the Lacroma prospect, located 30km north of Campoona.
iTech also has extensive exploration tenure prospective for copper-gold porphyry mineralisation, iron-oxide-copper-gold mineralisation and gold mineralisation in South Australia and tin, tungsten, and polymetallic Cobar-style mineralisation in New South Wales.