BlackEarth sets sights on European plant to convert graphite to battery anode material
Link copied to
BlackEarth has big plans to become a major graphite supplier to the lithium battery industry, with a scoping study underway to build a plant to convert the graphite from its Maniry project in Madagascar to battery anode material.
The BAM Study will assess the viability of building a manufacturing plant which will produce the spheronised and purified graphite, as required for lithium batteries in Europe.
It’s a smart move since European demand for BAM is expected to soar in coming years, with commodity forecasters predicting there will be a growing supply shortfall in the BAM market from next year due to soaring demand from lithium battery manufacturers.
Not to mention the strategic advantages of establishing a plant in Europe include proximity to a global hub of new battery giga-factories and electric vehicle producers – along with attractive financial incentives to encourage battery-related developments.
BlackEarth (ASX:BEM) MD Tom Revy says the company believes there is an “exceptional opportunity” to become a vital supplier to the lithium battery industry by processing Maniry fines into BAM.
“This would allow us to sell a portion of our fines for around four times the price we would realise by selling them as a raw product to others to process into BAM,” he said.
“By becoming vertically integrated in this manner, we stand to substantially increase our revenues, margins and free cashflow while becoming an integral part of the booming lithium battery industry in Europe.
“The BAM strategy is designed to provide valuable income diversity and increased overall financial returns from Maniry.
“At the same time, we will proceed as planned with our strategy to process our coarse graphite via our joint venture in India for sale of expandable graphite into Europe next year.”
Until now, BlackEarth had planned to sell the fines as a raw product to processors, but the BAM plant would have the potential to add significant value to Maniry fines, which will account for 40% of total production.
Preliminary studies have shown the BAM will sell for ~US$3500/t compared with ~US$850/t for the concentrate fines.
Plus, independent tests undertaken by laboratory and tier-1 end users have previously confirmed the suitability of Maniry concentrate for use in lithium batteries.
The next step is for Wave International, an independent resource development consulting group with specific expertise in graphite downstream processing, to undertake the study – which will consider a flow sheet including mechanical shaping (micronisation/spheronisation), followed by purification.
The basis of the purification options will be test work previously completed by ANZAPLAN who achieved a minimum 99.96% fixed carbon using several different purification methods.
In the meantime, the company says its on track to complete the Maniry Definitive Feasibility Study in October.
This article was developed in collaboration with BlackEarth Minerals NL, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.