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Sarytogan Graphite unveils 3rd potential graphite revenue stream

Sarytogan Graphite says its graphite product is potentially suitable for the massive consumer products battery market.

Sarytogan Graphite (ASX: SGA) has come up with a neat plan to use the left over bi-product graphite from its lithium battery stream to create a new revenue opportunity from the substantial consumer goods battery market.

Sarytogan has been busy creating multiple potential revenue streams from its ultra-high grade graphite product that it says is suitable for typical industrial uses such as lead pencils and brake pads, the massive lithium battery market and now AA and AAA batteries typically sold by big players such as Eveready and Duracell.

Notably, the latest addition to the company’s potential revenue streams, consumer goods batteries, comes courtesy of what would otherwise have been a waste stream created from the graphite product Sarytogan intends to sell into the lucrative lithium battery anode market.

Graphite sold into the lithium battery market needs to first be “spheroidized”, or made round. The spheroidization process necessarily creates a lot of waste, however Sarytogan says the uber-high grade of its product means that waste stream of ultra-fine graphite can be used as a “conductivity enhancer” in the cathodes of consumer goods batteries such as AA and AAA batteries, a product found in almost every home across the globe.

These results demonstrate yet another advanced use for Sarytogan Graphite products.
Sarytogan Graphite managing director Sean Gregory

Interestingly, management says this same stream of product could also be suitable for the nuclear industry.

At this stage Sarytogan is looking to create three revenue streams, approximately in equal portions. The first is a microcrystalline graphite at about 80-85 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 UHPF for advanced industrial uses including the nuclear industry and as a cathode activity enhancer for batteries.

According to Sarytogan, 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. Graphite used as nuclear moderators sells at prices of higher than US$25,000 (AU$38,310) per tonne.

Management says its UHPF product has shown superior results when added to alkaline battery cathodes for portable household items and battery cannister linings, as well as lithium monofluoride battery cathodes for aviation, medical and military applications.

Just last month the company achieved the coveted “five nines” purity level for bulk flotation concentrate from its graphite project, with one 2.2kg sample assayed at 99.9992 per cent carbon.

The lithium-ion battery spheroidization process only uses about 54 per cent of the graphite product and the remaining 46 per cent that would typically form a waster stream will now be used in the consumer goods market after recent testing. The testwork will form part of the company’s ongoing prefeasibility study (PFS) that is expected to be delivered by the third quarter of this year.

These results demonstrate yet another advanced use for Sarytogan Graphite products. Given the giant size of the Sarytogan Graphite Deposit, the way to maximise value will be to place as many units of carbon into as many markets as possible. Sarytogan’s inverted flowsheet thermally purifies the graphite before rather than after spheroidization. This allows Ultra-High Purity Fines to be produced as a high value by-product to the spherical graphite products for the rapidly growing lithium-ion battery market
Sarytogan Graphite managing director Sean Gregory

In the space of just 18 months, Sarytogan has delivered a high-grade mineral resource at its Kazakhstan project of 229 million tonnes at an incredible 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.

The company has previously announced that it is looking to build a purification and spheroidization plant that will process its own mined product and it is investigating options to acquire industrial land in Karaganda, 190km from its graphite project. Management says that location has access to low-cost power, water, rail terminals and a skilled workforce.

Sarytogan recently engaged GR Engineering Services to progress its PFS and it will evaluate two main flowsheet options in chemical and thermal purification.

Another benefit for Sarytogan is its location in Kazakhstan, which is an established mining jurisdiction ideally located between the biggest battery manufacturers in Europe and China. Importantly, it has affordable and containerised rail transport available to both regions.

In fact, the country shares many similarities with Western Australia given its semi-arid land area and a mining code based on WA’s own industry standards.

According to the United States Geological Survey, Kazakhstan has an estimated 8.6 million tonnes of lithium resources, making it the fifth-largest holder of lithium reserves in the world.

Since 2009, Kazakhstan has been the world leader in natural uranium mining, with the country’s national operator Kazatomprom holding priority rights to the country’s extensive reserves. In 2023 the nation accounted for more than 35 per cent of the global uranium supply which is expected to increase this year.

Other major mining and resources companies with an interest in Kazakhstan include Rio Tinto, Fortescue, Glencore and Barrick Gold.

By any measure Sarytogan’s graphite resource in Kazakhstan is off the Richter scale – both in terms of tonnes and grade. Its plan to create multiple revenue streams from multiple different graphite products spread across multiple markets seems to makes sense given its sheer scale.

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