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Mineral Commodities achieves battery grade graphite

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Graphite-focused Mineral Commodities has established a pathway to commercial production of high-purity graphite in Australia after successfully completing its Cooperative Research Centres project, or “CRC-P” with Australia’s national science agency CSIRO and Doral Fused Materials.

The project achieved battery grades with a minimum of 99.9 per cent purity using concentrates sourced from both Mineral Commodities’ Munglinup and Skaland sources of graphite, with typical recoveries of 90 per cent.

The CSIRO conducted 534 purification tests in the CRC-P project at an increasing scale, including 84 lock cycle tests to simulate industrial processing. Testing was completed on both Munglinup and Skaland material in various forms including flake graphite concentrate, micronised flake, spherical graphite and spheronisation fines.

The results show material from Mineral Commodities’ larger Munglinup resource is easier to purify with a 0.01 per cent higher absolute purity in the process.

Importantly, the CSIRO-developed process does not involve the use of environmentally harmful fluoride-based reagents that current techniques for producing high purity graphite rely on.

The latest accomplishment is another box ticked for Mineral Commodities’ overall project to develop an Australian integrated ore-to-battery anode materials business.

The collaborative project was budgeted at $2.61m, 31 per cent of which was funded by the Federal Government as part of its larger grant of $3.9m to help bring the project to fruition.

As part of its government grant the company is looking to broaden its collaboration with CSIRO to include graphite shaping and anode coating processes, enhancing Australian capabilities in the critical minerals supply chain.

We are very much looking forward to broadening our collaboration with CSIRO’s team of experts to a larger scale piloting of graphitic anode materials production using Skaland and Munglinup concentrates.

We will also engage the wider Australian METS sector to deliver an updated Munglinup DFS aligned with qualification demand and modular plant design based on recent testwork, as well as an integrated ore-to-anode materials DFS based on our Munglinup graphite project. This will support acceleration of Munglinup development.

The funding will allow the company to supply a larger quantity of customer qualification samples to secure off-take agreements, ultimately underpinning definitive feasibility studies into its graphite ventures.

Mineral Commodities kicked a few more goals this month by inking preliminary agreements with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation and global commodity trading and logistics company Traxys.

The deal with Mitsubishi will result in the construction and operation of an anode plant in Norway for Mineral Commodities to toll treat the chemical corporation’s graphite.

Initial samples developed from the cooperative project have been provided to its Tokyo-based joint venture partner with positive feedback.

Additional samples are also being generated for its marketing partner, Traxys to support offtake agreements.

Mineral Commodities says its Skaland mine in Norway is the world’s highest-grade operating flake graphite mine at 1.84Mt going an extraordinary 23.6 per cent graphitic carbon.

Almost 14,000km away in WA, the company holds its significantly more substantial 7.99-million-tonne Munglinup resource. The resource in Australia is about half the grade of Skaland, however it represents a significant opportunity for the company to beef up operations and achieve economies of scale.

In total, the company holds a sizeable 9.83Mt at 14.3 per cent total graphitic carbon, containing 1.4Mt of graphite.

The company appears to have picked a strong horse as The International Energy Agency sees demand for graphite increasing 20 to 25-fold by 2040, given its importance to the electric vehicle and battery storage industries.

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@wanews.com.au

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