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Lincoln Minerals review puts SA graphite in electric vehicle frame


Lincoln Minerals is rapidly moving towards a PFS on its Kookaburra graphite project near Port Lincoln in South Australia.

A new independent review of metallurgical testwork completed six years ago on Lincoln Minerals’ (ASX: LML) South Australian graphite has confirmed the product is suitable for use in global electric vehicle (EV) battery markets.


The company says the review found previous metallurgical and pilot testing, combined with micronisation processing, demonstrated the material from its Kookaburra graphite project (KGP) was ideal for the high-quality battery anode material used in EV batteries.


Management conducted an exhaustive range of different testing on its graphite material between 2013 and 2018, returning consistent high-grade results up to 98 per cent recovery and 97 per cent total graphitic carbon (TGC) without the need for additional cleaning stages. It says batch tests at ALS Laboratories achieved 99.9 per cent purity after using hydrofluoric acid in purification tests.


The review of the substantial data was completed by Clint Bowker, an independent metallurgist with more than 30 years experience working for BHP and the Bureau Veritas Group. His review confirmed there is sufficient data for Lincoln to begin a prefeasibility Study (PFS) for the KGP, which sits about 35km north of the SA fishing town of Port Lincoln.


Substantial quantities of micronised testwork and high-quality product samples fast-tracks our plans to advance the project to production.
Lincoln Minerals chief executive officer Jonathon Trewartha

The PFS is due in this year’s fourth quarter and is targeting 60,000 to 100,000 tonnes per annum of graphite concentrate – an increase of between 70 per cent and 185 per cent more than the previous 2017 study.


The presence of substantial quantities of micronised testwork and high-quality product samples fast-tracks our plans to advance the project to production.
Lincoln Minerals chief executive officer Jonathon Trewartha

The company will now start to rapidly develop its strategy for downstream battery anode material (BAM) and will begin an integrated study in the coming weeks.


The previous testwork confirmed a standard plant design and process flowsheet would deliver a high-quality product, with micronisation processing of 300kg of material able to produce five grades of flake concentrate in a strategy to provide a range of products, depending on customer requirements.


Lincoln says the variety of its flake material is ideal for BAM use and considered suitable for EVs, subject to further testing. The company plans to use the material for further detailed testing and analysis.


It has appointed experienced critical mineral manager Stephen McEwen as its project development manager to drive the BAM strategy and upcoming PFS and is planning to have the project “dig-ready” by the second half of next year.


The company believes the advancement of its KGP comes at an opportune time, with the Federal Government continuing to show funding support for projects with merit and an ability to play a significant role in the critical mineral supply chain.


The latest mineral KGP resource sits at 12.8 million tonnes going 7.6 per cent TGC for 973,000 tonnes of contained graphite. Lincoln says that makes the KGP the second-biggest graphite resource on the Eyre Peninsula, which it describes as “Australia’s premier graphite province”.


The KGP resource comprises the Kookaburra Gully, Koppio and Kookaburra Gully Extended deposits.


The company recently extended the resource at Kookaburra Gully by 114 per cent after targeting growth with its first drilling program in seven years. It now shows 412,000 tonnes of contained graphite at the deposit.


Management says further resource growth is possible as the KGP has a multitude of electromagnetic (EM) anomalies that spread south-west and north-east and span more than 15km. It is planning to drill targets outside the known mineralisation areas later this year.


Lincoln has also been invited to participate in an Australian Government-led critical minerals trade mission to Europe next month. The company says it will highlight the competitive advantages it believes it has at its KGP, including its high-grade component of mineralised ore on an approved mining lease in a tier-one jurisdiction.


It was asked to join the trade mission to the United Kingdom, France and Germany after appearing in Austrade’s 2023 edition of Australian Critical Minerals Prospectus.


The European Union’s annual trade mission will this year focus on graphite and lithium – two critical battery minerals that are expected to play a big role in future EV uptake. It will provide Lincoln with the opportunity to develop a network of offtakers in the EV battery space, in addition to companies involved in the automotive, defence, electronics and aerospace fields.


The opportunity comes amid significant supply chain tensions following China’s recent ban on exports, which has increased demand for new, quality sources of the material from outside that country.


Lincoln’s KGP seems to possess the type of quality graphite that some critical mineral pundits are saying the market will be “screaming for” as EV production ramps up in the coming years.


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