Lithium Energy Limited (ASX:LEL) reports that it is investigating the construction of a downstream graphite purification facility in Townsville, QLD, in a bid to offer high-value battery anode material.
The plant, which would take feedstock from the company’s ‘very high grade’ Burke Graphite Project, would aim to purify and spheronise graphite in an environmentally-sustainable way.
Graphite from Burke, which the company describes as ‘one of the worlds highest-grade graphite deposits’, contains low impurities which makes it ideal for lithium-ion battery production. The deposit houses an existing JORC inferred mineral resource grade of 16% Total Graphitic Carbon (TGC), including a higher-grade component of 2.3Mt @ 20.6% TGC.
The creation of a value-adding processing facility in Townsville, using high-quality Burke feedstock would create a number of benefits including higher-value output, low transport costs due to proximity of feedstock from the Cloncurry region, and proximity to the Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub, which is emerging as a key region for critical battery material production in Australia.
the production of Purified Spherical Graphite (PSG) is almost monopolised by Chinese companies
In addition, the production of Purified Spherical Graphite (PSG) is almost monopolised by Chinese companies, who use ‘highly toxic’ chemical processes. This will provide a key product differentiation point for LEL, which plans on adopting environmentally-friendly best practices.
Demand for PSG is expected to increase over the coming decade in line with the sharp rise in EV production. Graphite forms a key component in battery anode production, typically weighing up to 10 times more than lithium in an average lithium-ion battery.