With an aim to become a major supplier of environment-friendly graphite to fast-growing battery and electric vehicle sector, Australian-headquartered Kibaran Resources Limited (ASX: KNL) has developed a vertically integrated graphite business for manufacturing battery graphite for the lithium-ion market.
Once established, the company will operate a diverse graphite portfolio, providing high quality Tanzanian natural flake graphite products via TanzGraphite to established markets in Europe and Asia, along with EcoGraf, a multi-hub development initiating in Kwinana, Western Australia that will offer a global new supply of eco-friendly battery graphite for lithium-ion batteries.
Under its downstream business EcoGraf Project, Kibaran has planned for the production of a battery graphite production facility in Western Australia’s Kwinana Industrial Area, located 30km south of Perth. For the proposed Kwinana development, the company is advancing the pre-development activities for production facility.
Kibaran has recently announced some key details on the ongoing benchmarking feedstock programme to finalise preferred stocks, that the company is completing as a part of the pre-development activities.
Updated Details on Benchmarking Feedstock Programme
Kibaran is undertaking final feedstock benchmarking to determine the preferred feedstocks and finalise binding purchase agreements. As per the company, securing final feedstock purchase agreements is part of the requisite for the debt financing the company is pursuing.
For this purpose, it is evaluating product sources chosen from the successful 2018 programme. The company informed that the investigation will assess production variables comprising purification cost, purchase prices (flake and carbon grade), location and logistics cost, etc. Subsequently, the results will be analysed and put into a cost benefit analysis to identify the optimal feedstocks needed for the proposed Kwinana production.
The company will determine the preferred feedstocks with the finalisation of the testwork programme, which is expected to be completed in January 2020. The testwork is being finalised in Germany, using equipment comprising the company’s spheronsing pilot plant.
Other Pre-development Activities
The company is progressing with the pre-development activities for Kwinana facility with regard to the engineering study’s positive findings received in June 2019 for the planned development.
Besides final feedstock benchmarking, other ongoing pre-development activities include:
- Technical documentation for lease arrangements, government approvals and local permitting.
- Equipment testing campaign by major suppliers which is likely to be completed during the December quarter.
Recently, the company also updated on the EcoGraf confirmation testwork conducted under pre-development activities. The company notified that the EcoGraf testwork results have confirmed the effectiveness of the EcoGraf proprietary purification process, and the environment friendly nature, given no adverse emissions were noted for aqueous, gaseous or solid residues.
The results provided GR Engineering with the required information to complete the detailed design of the process flow sheet comprising waste streams and equipment specific design data.
After evaluating the preferred feedstocks, each selected feedstock will be further assessed to deliver technical results on the following aspects:
- Energy consumption, process time, particle size distribution and yield from mechanical shaping. This process also identifies properties like particle size distribution, density and specific surface area;
- Material characterisation determining volatiles, tap density, carbon content, ash and particle size distribution;
- Electrochemical testwork for performance in lithium-ion-batteries like 1st cycle efficiency, C-rate tests, cycle capacity etc
The company will also evaluate the environmental footprint of each source as it is a key requirement for end customers. A key differentiator in the company’s plan is to maintain a responsibly produced supply to produce a reliable environment-friendly alternate source of battery graphite for the lithium ion battery market.
Kibaran remains on track to make a Final Investment Decision (FID) for Kwinana in 1H CY2020. The company will initiate commercial production of an initial 5,0000 tonnes per annum 11 months after the FID and increase to 20,000 tonnes per annum to meet the projected growth in demand.
KNL settled the day’s trading at $0.096 on 12th November 2019. The stock has delivered a return of 15.7 per cent in the last one month.
Take a Look at Kibaran’s September 2019 Quarter Report Here
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