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Sarytogan Graphite gets nuclear green light for Kazakhstan graphite

Updated: May 15

Sarytogan Graphite says its high-purity graphite can be made into the bricks used in the core of a nuclear reactor.

Sarytogan Graphite (ASX: SGA) says product purified to 99.999 per cent from its namesake graphite project in Kazakhstan has 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.

Management says the purified product is expected to be suitable for the nuclear industry at “super-premium” prices and has estimated it to be more than 50 times purer than the required battery specification. It also believes the achieved purity will add further value and possibilities for its project.

Late last year, bulk flotation concentrate was produced in Australia and purified by the company’s United States technology partner to 2.2kg grading 99.9991 per cent carbon. A 570g sub-sample was purified using a specific set of process parameters to assay at 99.9992 per cent carbon.

Sarytogan Five Nines Graphite has now been independently assayed to meet the EBC specification required for use in nuclear reactors.
Sarytogan Graphite managing director Sean Gregory

Another five-nines graphite sample was sent to an independent laboratory in the US for assay, which covered the full suite of 26 elements required to calculate EBC under the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International Standard Specification for Isotropic and Near-isotropic Nuclear Graphites. The sample was determined at the criteria-meeting 1.1ppm EBC.

Sarytogan Five Nines Graphite has now been independently assayed to meet the EBC specification required for use in nuclear reactors. This adds a super-premium dimension to Sarytogan Graphite product offering for uses in traditional industrial, lithium-ion battery, primary battery, and advanced industrial markets.”
Sarytogan Graphite managing director Sean Gregory

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

Drilling results received early last year confirmed the near-surface nature of the deposit, with assays of 26.8m grading a heady 30.4 per cent TGC right from surface – and that hole ended in mineralisation. Additional wide, shallow results show 47.6m at 31.3 per cent TGC, also from surface, including 13.9m going 40.2 per cent TGC, in addition to a 6.8m hit grading 37 per cent in the same hole.

Sarytogan is looking to build a purification and spheroidisation plant that will process its own mined product and it is investigating options to acquire industrial land in Karaganda, just 190km from the project.

The company has identified three revenue streams from ore at its Kazakhstan operation, 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 uncoated spherical purified graphite (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.

According to company, the global market for nuclear graphite is currently about 60,000 tonnes per annum and is set to grow with the renewed worldwide investment in nuclear power.

Sarytogan is continuing its long-cycle battery testing on coin cell batteries made with USPG anodes, with results expected within the next few weeks. The results will form a critical part of its upcoming prefeasibility study (PFS), which is set to be delivered next quarter.

And with the global sentiment for nuclear power gaining traction, the latest clearance for the company’s high-purity graphite product may just be perfectly timed.

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