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Buxton’s graphite testing proves battery grade quality

Spherical graphite from Buxton Resources’ Graphite Bull project. Credit: File.

Buxton Resources’ 100 per cent-owned Graphite Bull Project in WA’s Gascoyne region has ticked another milestone with testwork confirming its product is suitable for the manufacture of lithium-ion battery anodes.

The testwork verified that uncoated purified spherical graphite (uPSG) made from Graphite Bull deposit concentrate exceeded the 350 milliampere-hours per gram (mAh/g) charging values considered to be ‘good’ for uncoated graphite ‑ achieving charging values as high as 370 mAh/g.

The testwork was completed by ProGraphite GmbH in Germany which has been managing mid and downstream testing on Graphite Bull concentrate for Buxton since April last year.

With this latest box ticked, the Graphite Bull ore is quickly firming-up as a suitable feedstock for commercial battery anodes, which are the negatively charged electrode. Buxton it seems, now has its sights squarely set on taking up a place in the supply chain for in the electric vehicle market which has been modelled to have sales of about 400 million electric vehicles globally in 2030 – up from about 16 million last year.

Buxton is delighted to have a critical battery mineral project of this calibre in our portfolio. We also note UBS’s recent comments about the likelihood of a two-tier pricing structure for graphite from 2025, suggesting a premium for battery quality graphite products and recognising coming realities for the global battery anode industry. Graphite Bull is the right project in the right place, at the right time. Buxton Resources chief executive officer Marty Moloney.

Buxton says the latest batch of results are a major milestone for the Graphite Bull project after 14 months of metallurgical testwork. This latest achievement continues a string of successes for Buxton which include the production of high-grade concentrate with purity greater than 98 per cent total graphitic carbon achieved via a simple flotation method.

Recent Graphite Bull metallurgical testing has also been encouraging, highlighting the relative ease at which the graphite concentrate can be micronised, spheronised and purified without the use of toxic hydrofluoric acid.

Those down-stream testing results follow some impressive looking drill hits at the project which include total graphitic carbon (TCG) intercepts as high as 33m grading 18.7 per cent from 11m, 18m at 16.2 per cent from 145m, 5m at 24.8 per cent from 20m and 32m going 17.7 per cent from 49m.

Graphite Bull was acquired by Buxton in 2012 and by 2014 an airborne electromagnetic survey and several drilling programmes had been completed. That work led the company to place the current mineral resource at 4 million tonnes grading 16.2 per cent TGC.

Graphite is the single largest component of lithium-ion batteries. The requirement for the grey metal is forecast to double by 2027 and be eight times larger by 2040 as the globe electrifies.

Notably, US President Biden’s 2022 Inflation Reduction Act opens the door for US free-trade agreement (FTA) with countries like Australia to freely export graphite and other critical mineral to the US while material from ‘foreign entities of concern’ (FEOC) is turned away.

Some models suggest that graphite concentrates from US FTA-eligible countries with stringent ethical, social and environmental regulations and supply chain traceability proving non-contact with FEOC’s during downstream processing will attract a higher price.

Buxton says a second bulk graphite concentrate sample from the ground at Graphite Bull is currently being evaluated by Dorfner Anzaplan GmbH, also in Germany, with results expected progressively from May this year.

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