With a high grade resource and excellent met test work results confirming the value proposition for Lithium Energy’s stellar Burke graphite deposit in North Queensland, a major study can now begin on building Australia’s first integrated battery graphite manufacturing facility.

A PFS is ready to commence at Burke after BGRIMM (Beijing General Institute of Mining and Metallurgy) test work confirmed the capacity to use standard flotation processing to upgrade Burke’s high grade graphite rich ore to battery grade material with concentrate grades of more than 96% total graphic carbon.

Overall graphite recoveries by BGRIMM in closed loop testing also confirmed “excellent recovery rates” with more than 85% of the graphitic content of the ore reporting to the concentrate.

It is all built off the back of one of the purest deposits of the battery material on the ASX, with a JORC 2012 resource base of 9.1Mt at 14.4% TGC.

By way of contrast that compares to grades at most African deposits of between 5-7% TGC.

With all that in mind, Lithium Energy (ASX:LEL) has appointed Wave International and the Measured Group to conduct a PFS to study the development of not just a graphite mine and concentrator, but a vertically integrated purified spherical graphite manufacturing plant in Queensland with the world class Burke feedstock.

Massive growth in graphite market

Graphite is yet to get the same credit as other battery materials for its role in the electric vehicle revolution, though prices for battery grade flake graphite rose strongly last year.

Hidden behind lithium, nickel and cobalt in the pantheon of battery metals and still yet to be mined commercially in Australia, graphite is nonetheless a core component of all lithium-ion batteries.

The dominant anode material in Li-ion, large demand growth is expected as EV market pentration rises over the course of the decade, with the number of new mines needed to be developed to meet demand far exceeding those in the existing pipeline.

LEL in the sweet spot with Burke

“We are very pleased to have secured the engineering services of Wave International and the Measured Group to undertake our Burke Graphite PFS. We are confident that this PFS will demonstrate that Burke can deliver a successful, vertically integrated and environmentally sustainable business manufacturing high value battery anode material right here in Australia,” LEL executive chairman William Johnson said.

“Decarbonisation and the EV revolution are driving the demand for natural graphite as a key battery anode material.

“The Burke Graphite Project is very well positioned to take advantage of this expected massive growth in demand for battery anode material, given the exceptionally high grade of the Burke Deposit, its metallurgical characteristics and favourable location in North-West Queensland.

“We are excited to be taking this next step in the advancement of Burke and to be playing an important role in supporting the decarbonisation of the world.”

Burke is located 125km north of Cloncurry, next to Novonix’s Mt Dromedary graphite project, and around 783km from the port and future battery materials hub of Townsville, where the Queensland Government wants to develop the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct to produce downstream ingredients for battery tech

Also north of LEL’s promising Corella tenement, which is located 40km west of Cloncurry, as well as being 122km from the airport in Mt Isa, Burke looms as one of Australia’s premier graphite developments.

The additions of Measured Group and Wave International to the project team is also a boost.

Wave, in particular, has over 20 years consulting in the battery and technology metals sector, developing projects in central and far north Queensland with extensive global experience in feasibility, design, commissioning and the operation of natural graphite projects.

It has consulted on studies for fellow ASX graphite players like Renascor and Evion.




This article was developed in collaboration with Lithium Energy, 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.