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Sarytogan Graphite eyes European, US markets for coated graphite


A close-up look at Sarytogan Graphite’s coated spherical purified graphite.

Sarytogan Graphite (ASX: SGA) is investigating its potential to impact a new high-value market after positive initial testing of lithium-ion batteries produced using coated spherical purified graphite (CSPG) from its namesake project in Kazakhstan.


Management says the addition of CSPG to its product offering is expected to boost its plans for direct relationships with battery and original equipment manufacturers in Europe and America.


The latest test results build on the company’s recent success using uncoated spherical purified graphite (USPG) to produce lithium-ion batteries that showed consistently superior capacity when compared to many synthetic graphite anodes used in electric vehicles (EVs).


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.


The coating process to produce CSPG adds a far greater price element to product from its Kazakhstan project. Management says the market price for CSPG is about US$8000 (AU$12,116) per tonne compared to USPG, which can fetch about US$2500 (AU$3786) per tonne.


During testing on its USPG-produced lithium-ion batteries, 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.


Utilising CSPG, the coin-cell batteries have now cycled 100 times and recorded reversible capacity of 354mAh/g – clearly exceeding the levels of many synthetic graphite products used in anodes for EVs.


Sarytogan says its testing has shown that 98.9 per cent of battery capacity is still available after 100 cycles. It now expects more than 1600 cycles before the typical useful threshold of 80 per cent capacity is reached.


The company also recorded an irreversible capacity loss (ICL) of just 11 per cent in its first stage of testing, only slightly above the industry benchmark of 10 per cent for high-performance lithium-ion batteries. Management now plans to add a thicker coating of soft carbon in future testing to reduce both the surface area and the ICL levels.


The successful demonstration of coating adds a premium priced element to our battery product offering and opens the door to future direct relationships with battery manufacturers and OEMs. Coating has therefore been added to the flowsheet for the prefeasibility study, which is progressing well and is on track for completion no later than September this year.
Sarytogan Graphite managing director Sean Gregory

Earlier this year, 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.


The company currently holds a high-grade mineral resource at its Kazakhstan project of 229 million tonnes at an impressive 28.9 per cent total graphitic carbon (TGC).


Following the latest successful testing of its CSPG in lithium-ion battery anodes, Sarytogan has added it to the flowsheet of its looming PFS as it continues to identify potential new markets for its high-grade graphite.


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