Battery-grade graphite production from South Australia has moved a step closer for Renascor Resources (ASX: RNU), as the company told shareholders that its preliminary laboratory test work has produced high quality spherical graphite from concentrates sourced from its flagship Siviour Project.
In response to today’s news, Renascor Managing Director David Christensen said that the results effectively “confirm our ability to produce a value-added spherical graphite product for sale into the rapidly expanding lithium-ion battery anode market.”
“This offers new possibilities for project development that could widen the scope of potential offtake partners and improve the already robust operating margins we expect from the development of Siviour,” he added.
Renascor shares were up by over 30% and trading at $0.051 per share in Thursday-morning trade.
With high-grade spherical graphite having now established itself as a firm fixture in the lithium-ion battery supply chain, companies like Renascor are hopeful to make sizeable contributions to the global supply chain, already struggling to cope with the surge in electric car sales and future car-building orders.
“At present, nearly all spherical graphite used in lithium-ion battery anodes is sourced from China. Siviour has the potential to become a strategic diversification of supply of this globally important commodity by offering a high quality spherical product mined and processed in Australia,” said Christensen.
Renascor’s on-going graphite test program is being undertaken to assess the suitability of Siviour concentrates to be processed into highly valuable spherical graphite that’s currently experiencing strong price appreciation on world markets.
Today’s results will be integrated into Renascor’s broader exploration work to test the ability of Siviour concentrates to be adequately processed to meet industry specifications and potentially, allow Renascor to establish highly lucrative offtake deals.
Renascor provided a 25kg composite core sample from the Siviour Indicated Resource, which was processed to produce graphite concentrates through standard milling and flotation techniques. The graphite concentrates were micronised, spheronised and purified, before being tested for key performance criteria. Renascor’s samples recorded fixed carbon readings of 99.97% and 99.98% with ash contents of 0.03% and 0.02% in two separate tests.
So far, Renascor’s results have suggested Siviour graphite concentrates are suitable for the production of spherical graphite and will eventually meets industry specifications across key performance metrics, including purity and particle-size distribution.
Currently, high purity (99.95%+) spherical graphite sells at a premium to flake graphite concentrates, with current market prices averaging around US$3,000 per tonne.
With these encouraging results now in hand, Renascor’s next steps are to conduct “more detailed graphite purification and battery anode testing”, and then to provide marketing samples to various parties in a bid to aid discussions with potential spherical graphite offtake partners.
Further out is the prospect of Renascor publishing its highly anticipated Scoping Study assessing the viability of manufacturing spherical graphite from Siviour concentrates, with “results expected to be released within the next one to two weeks,” according to Renascor.