- Latest independent purification tests undertaken by German graphite specialist ProGraphite validate high-grade Purified Spherical Graphite (PSG) from Siviour Graphite Project, produced through an ecologically viable process.
- Test results further affirm the battery anode material study by Renascor, which adopted caustic roast purification method, as a more environmentally sustainable alternative compared to the hydrofluoric acid method generally adopted by Chinese PSG operations.
- Test results aid Renascor’s goal of becoming a major source of PSG for lithium-ion battery anode makers.
- Renascor looks forward to utilising the test results to assist in securing offtake commitments to facilitate the financing and development of Siviour Graphite Project in South Australia.
The unapparelled exploration journey of Renascor Resources Ltd (ASX: RNU) appears further to strengthen the viability of Siviour Graphite Project, piggybacking on the latest tests undertaken by German graphite specialist ProGraphite GmbH, holding expertise in laboratory testing and analysis of natural graphite products.
The independent purification tests have upheld the Renascor’s competence to process Siviour graphite into high-value Purified Spherical Graphite (PSG) via a more environmentally friendly caustic roast purification method.
Notably, the Company has planned the integration of a PSG processing operation with its flagship Siviour Graphite Project, focused on the diversification of PSG supply chain security via the world’s first integrated, in-country mine and battery anode material operation outside China.
The results further validate the recent battery anode material study by Renascor, implementing caustic roast purification as a more sustainable option to produce PSG than the hydrofluoric acid method frequently adopted by Chinese PSG operators.
Remarking on the robust test results, Renascor’s Managing Director David Christensen stated that the latest results further support the Company’s goal of developing a major PSG source for the makers of lithium-ion battery anodes by substantiating its more eco-friendly purification process, meeting the sustainability criteria of end-users and financiers.
Mr Christensen added that the battery anode material study confirmed Siviour’s potential for producing PSG at amongst the lowest cost of any graphite development in the world. Renascor expects to utilise the results to aid continuing offtake discussions to enable Siviour’s financing and development.
Lens through Latest Testworks
Renascor has steadily advanced purification tests for optimising and validating the caustic roast circuit that was used in the previous testwork and incorporated in the study. ProGraphite employed the caustic roast purification method adopted in the battery anode material study, involving a combination of Siviour graphite with a caustic solution, followed by roasting at low temperature prior to leaching with hydrochloric acid.
Two tests were undertaken on Siviour Graphite Concentrate samples that had been spheronised to ~16 microns, a size specification frequently used by lithium-ion battery anode manufacturers. While the caustic roast circuit used in the battery anode material study was incorporated in the first test, the second test was conducted to aid in purification circuit optimisation through limiting reagent consumption.
In both situations, the caustic process produced battery-grade purity graphite samples, with 99.97% carbon (C) successfully achieved, both higher than the standard specification of 99.95% C adopted by most anode makers.
Significance of Tests
Battery Anode Material Study
Renascor’s battery anode material study proposes a vertical integration of battery anode material operation in South Australia. It would combine a mining operation at the Company’s wholly owned Siviour Graphite Project with a downstream processing operation, which would produce PSG to be further utilised in lithium-ion battery anodes.
The study highlighted a globally competitive gross operating cost of US$1,989 per tonne of PSG, which can be achieved by taking advantage of the comparatively low-cost of Siviour Graphite Concentrates as PSG feedstock and co-locating the downstream operation in Australia.
For the battery anode material study, Renascor adopted the caustic roast purification method to upgrade Siviour Graphite Concentrates to +99.95% C PSG, the threshold purity level generally accepted for incorporating PSG into lithium-ion battery anodes.
Caustic roasting process provides environmental sustainability for graphite purification to battery grade, in comparison with the purification technique generally adopted in China, which uses hydrofluoric acid.
Following extensive purification testwork in 2018 and 2019, selection of the caustic roast technique was influenced by its relative environmental benefits.
Renascor intends to advance the caustic testing underway, with forthcoming programs to incorporate optimisation tests for achieving maximum purity at minimal cost by continuing to constrain reagent consumption and roasting and leaching.
On 15 July 2020 (AEST 11:19 AM), RNU stock was trading upward by 8.333% to $0.013 per share, with a three-month return of over 71%.