Core Lithium Finniss Lithium Project

BlackEarth launches Scoping Study to process graphite into suitable product for Li batteries

BlackEarth Minerals (ASX:BEM) has started a Scoping Study on building a plant to process graphite from its Maniry project in Madagascar into a product suitable for use in lithium batteries.

The company reports that the strategy is aimed at enabling BlackEarth to capitalise on the emerging supply deficit for battery anode material (BAM) required to make lithium batteries.

The study will assess the viability of building the plant in Europe, where demand for BAM is forecast to soar over coming years.

Wave International will undertake the BAM Scoping Study for the potential downstream processing of suitable graphite concentrate in Europe.

Spheronised and purified graphite is considered a critical component in the lithium-ion battery supply chain.

BlackEarth believes it has the potential to become a strategic supplier of high-value, high-demand SPG into the European lithium-ion battery / electric vehicle markets.

Blackearth graphite

Addressing the Scoping Study, BlackEarth Managing Director Tom Revy said: “We believe there is an exceptional opportunity to become a vital supplier to the lithium battery industry by processing Maniry fines into BAM.

“We believe there is an exceptional opportunity to become a vital supplier to the lithium battery industry”

This would allow us to sell a portion of our fines for around four times the price we would realise by selling them as a raw product to others to process into BAM.

By becoming vertically integrated in this manner, we stand to substantially increase our revenues, margins and free cashflow while becoming an integral part of the booming lithium battery industry in Europe.

The BAM strategy is designed to provide valuable income diversity and increased overall financial returns from Maniry”.

At the same time, we will proceed as planned with our strategy to process our coarse graphite via our joint venture in India for sale of expandable graphite into Europe next year.”

Previous test work undertaken by ANZAPLAN (Germany) found Maniry concentrate can be  successfully spheronised and purified by industry-standard methodologies and that preliminary electrochemical test work indicated suitability for Li-battery applications..

In its role as study manager of the Battery Anode Material Scoping Study, Wave International will evaluate the viability of building a downstream processing facility in Europe to produce (uncoated) spheronised purified graphite from a portion of the graphite concentrate expected to be produced from its Maniry Graphite Project in Madagascar.

The flow sheet will consider mechanical shaping (micronisation / spheronisation) followed by purification. The basis of the purification options will be test work previously completed by ANZAPLAN who achieved a minimum 99.96% fixed carbon using a number of different purification methods.

A number of sites in Europe are currently being considered, including site visits undertaken by BlackEarth executives in the past fortnight.

Write to Adam Orlando at Mining.com.au

Images: BlackEarth Minerals Ltd
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Written By Adam Orlando
Mining.com.au Editor-in-Chief Adam Orlando has more than 20 years’ experience in the media having held senior roles at various publications, including as Asia-Pacific Sector Head (Mining) at global newswire Acuris (formerly Mergermarket). Orlando has worked in newsrooms around the world including Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and Sydney.