Renascor Resources (ASX: RNU) has confirmed it can produce high-grade graphite concentrate at potentially “the lowest cost” of any other graphite operation from its flagship Siviour project, just days after lodging a mining lease for the project with the South Australian Department for Energy and Mining.
According to Renascor, initial locked-cycle and bulk concentrate production tests have validated the processing parameters outlined in the prefeasibility study that was published earlier this year.
During the testing, Renascor also identified potential enhancements to its flowsheet design for the definitive feasibility study.
Testing was conducted on a 15kg bulk sample which had an average grade of 12% total graphitic carbon.
Under this latest test cycle, Renascor generated graphite concentrate grading 95.9% on average and a 93% recovery. This compares to a 91% recovery rate in previous test work.
“These positive results further support the ability to produce a high-quality graphite concentrate from Siviour at amongst the lowest cost of any graphite development globally,” Renascor managing director David Christensen said.
“The potential to increase recoveries and decrease the project’s capital requirements is particularly pleasing,” he added.
Renascor has completed several test programs on its Siviour graphite at different facilities. The programs have all achieved consistent results.
Further evaluation will involve variability testing and optimisation programs to underpin the definitive feasibility study.
“Importantly, we have additional concentrate samples for further customer evaluation and the necessary technical basis to progress the Siviour definitive feasibility study through variability and other metallurgical test work into detailed process plant engineering,” Mr Christensen added.
Mining lease application
As part of its development schedule, Renascor has now lodged its mining lease application with the SA Government.
The application was part of a two-year engagement period where Renascor “extensively” engaged with stakeholders and undertook comprehensive environmental and technical studies.
“With application now lodged, we look forward to continued engagement with the local community and state government, as we move forward with detailed definitive feasibility study work programs, as well as advanced offtake and financing discussions.
Siviour encompasses 1,370 square kilometres in South Australia and has a reserve of 45.2 million tonnes grading 7.9% total graphitic carbon for 3.6 million tonnes of contained graphite.
The prefeasibility study published in March indicated a 30-year operation and posed two production scenarios.
One scenario was an immediate large-scale operation that could extract 117,000tpa of graphite concentrate.
The other scenario was a two stage development with initial production of 22,800tpa for the first three years and expanding to 129,000tpa across the mine life.
Test work carried out earlier this year, also revealed battery anode material could be produced from Siviour graphite.
By late morning trade, Renascor’s share price was steady at $0.018.