Peninsula Mines signs agreement with Korean lithium-ion producer to test Gapyeong graphite project samples

Peninsula Mines ASX PSM Korean lithium-ion producer Gapyeong graphite project samples
An initial testing program will be conducted by Tera Technos to complete spheroidisation and electrochemical testwork on graphite concentrate samples from Peninsula Mines' flagship Gapyeong project.

Australian exploration and development company Peninsula Mines (ASX: PSM) has signed a memorandum of understanding with South Korean high-tech manufacturing group Tera Technos for the metallurgical testing of graphite samples from its flagship Gapyeong project, 50 kilometres east of Seoul.

The agreement was executed via Peninsula’s wholly-owned subsidiary Korea Graphite and will include spheroidisation and electrochemical testing of concentrate samples from Gapyeong and potentially from the company’s Eunha graphite project, located to the south-west.

Tera manufactures and supplies high-performance carbon composite “SiOx” anode material which it claims can “overcome the limitations” of conventional anode materials for batteries.

The company is collaborating with research institutes worldwide to produce an anode material for a lithium rechargeable battery with a high capacity/high retention ratio and superior stability to improve the range and charging efficiency of electric vehicles and the usage duration of small electronic devices.

Offtake agreement

Subject to the results of Tera’s metallurgical testwork for Peninsula, the companies will negotiate a co-operation and offtake agreement allowing Korea Graphite first priority to supply Tera with flake graphite to meet tonnage and specifications requirements for the manufacture of its proprietary “Tera-Series” carbon composite anode materials.

Peninsula managing director and Korea Graphite director Jon Dugdale said the relationship with Tera represents a key milestone for the company’s presence in Korea’s growing lithium-ion battery market.

“This is a toe-hold for us in the world’s most dynamic lithium-ion battery industry,” he said.

“We will now look to complete ground-breaking spheroidisation and electrochemical testing, in parallel with advancing our key graphite projects towards development and production.”

Exploration drilling

An initial exploration drilling program at the Gapyeong project has produced positive results for Peninsula.

Last month, the company encountered multiple high-grade intersections from six diamond holes drilled for 458m on the eastern limb of an interpreted synformal structure.

Best results were up to 10.63m at 11.6% total graphite content, including 8.63m at 12.1% TGC; and 6.55m at 7.9% TGC from 39.6m, including 2.47m at 11.9% TGC.

The “very encouraging” results confirmed the thickness and high-grades intersected in the company’s previous trenching activities.

Mr Dugdale said Peninsula would complete concentrate metallurgy on fresh rock samples before drilling continues to target a maiden flake-graphite mineral resource at Gapyeong.

Lithium-ion production

South Korea is one of the world’s largest producers of lithium-ion batteries, obtaining its downstream graphite products – including spherical graphite for battery anodes –  predominantly from China.

Peninsula is targeting the mining and production of value-added spherical graphite in South Korea with a view to directly supplying the country’s lithium-ion battery manufacturers and graphite end-users.

The company has identified a conceptual exploration target for the Gapyeong, Yongwon and Eunha North flake graphite projects of up to 17 million tonnes, grading 11% TGC, for approximately 1.7Mt of graphite.

At midday, shares in Peninsula Mines were trading 25% higher at $0.005.

Imelda Cotton has over 20 years experience as a journalist and communications professional. She has spent the bulk of her career in the resources sector, having also worked directly with oil and gas majors and as a journalist covering a vast array of ASX listed companies within the resources, energy, science and health sectors.