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Lithium-ion batteries pass time test for Sarytogan Graphite

Spheroidised graphite from Sarytogan’s Kazakhstan project.

Sarytogan Graphite (ASX - SGA) has recorded “exceptional” endurance in the long-cycle performance of the first lithium-ion batteries using uncoated spherical purified graphite (USPG) from its namesake project in Kazakhstan.

According to the latest test results, the coin-cell batteries have continued to charge and discharge more than 140 times through a 10-hour cycle and retained 97.3 per cent of the charge capacity after 100 cycles.

Management has described the outcome, which meets the industry standard observation point, as remarkable as coated graphite is usually required to attain the observed level of performance from lithium-ion batteries. Based on the recent results, the company believes up to 1000 charge-discharge cycles may be expected before the typical 80 per cent performance threshold is reached.

These results are all significant inputs into the prefeasibility study which is on track for completion in Q3 this year.
Sarytogan Graphite managing director Sean Gregory

A second round of testing has now begun on coated spherical purified graphite (CSPG), which adds surface coating to the USPG with carbon to reduce surface roughness and improve battery performance – particularly in the first cycle. Management says the process is the normal pathway for all electric vehicle (EV) battery anodes.

This high performance is only possible with highly crystalline graphite, validating Sarytogan Graphite’s premium micro-crystalline nature. These results are all significant inputs into the prefeasibility study which is progressing well and is on track for completion in Q3 this year.
Sarytogan Graphite managing director Sean Gregory

Earlier this year, the company revealed that USPG from its Sarytogan graphite project had been successfully used to produce lithium-ion batteries that showed consistently superior capacity compared to many synthetic graphite anodes currently used in EVs. Reversible capacities ranging from 342 to 347 milliampere hours per gram mass (mAh/g) across the six batteries tested were recorded, compared to synthetic graphite products that typically return capacities of 330 to 345mAh/g.

Testing showed all six cells had remarkably repeatable and consistent results, with no significant degradation in performance after nine rounds of 10-hour charge and discharge cycles.

Sarytogan recently delivered a high-grade mineral resource at its Kazakhstan project of 229 million tonnes at an impressive 28.9 per cent total graphitic carbon (TGC).

Management says it is looking to create three revenue streams, in relatively equal portions. The first is a microcrystalline graphite at about 80 per cent to 85 per cent carbon to be sold for use in traditional industries including refractories, crucibles, foundries, pencils and lubricants.

The remaining two thirds will be split and made available to produce USPG for lithium-ion battery anodes, in addition to ultra-high-purity fines (UHPF) for advanced industrial uses including the nuclear industry and as a cathode activity enhancer for batteries.

Just last week, Sarytogan confirmed that product purified to 99.999 per cent from its Kazakhstan project had been cleared for use in nuclear reactors after meeting strict equivalent boron content (EBC) criteria. The purified graphite, referred to as “five nines”, has been assayed at 1.1 parts per million EBC, which is well below the maximum 2ppm specification for the highest-purity nuclear graphite.

With several potential revenue streams already being considered from its high-grade Sarytogan deposit in Kazakhstan, all eyes will now be on the upcoming PFS as the company continues to deliver positive results from its ongoing testwork.

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