MRC’s greener test work is delivering battery-grade graphite
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Purification tests carried out on graphite concentrates from Mineral Commodities’ Skaland and Munglinup have successfully produced battery grade spherical graphite.
The test work carried out by Australian national science agency CSIRO continues to achieve purities of up to 99.98% for Skaland and 99.99% for Munglinup, meeting the 99.95% purity required for use in batteries.
Excellent recoveries of about 90% have also been achieved.
Importantly for Mineral Commodities (ASX:MRC), the test work is being carried out using a caustic-based process under development at CSIRO that aims to be more environmentally sustainable than the current purification processes that use toxic hydrofluoric acid.
The collaboration has taken the process through 11 stages of testing with 502 tests carried out on different feed sources; different feed types; increasing scale; and optimisation of reagents consumption, including 64 tests incorporating reagents recycling (lock cycle testing).
Lock cycle testing is important as it is more representative of industrial processes where the build-up of impurities in recycle streams need to be managed to ensure product quality is achieved whilst minimising reagent consumption.
Testing has also consistently achieved the battery-grade results on scale-up from lab to mini-pilot scale.
“We are delighted with the progress of this purification project. The excellent research and development work conducted by CSIRO must be commended,” acting chief executive officer Russell Tipper said.
“The comprehensive program provides a very strong foundation to advance and de-risk the development of the AAMP (active anode materials plant), which is a cornerstone of value-adding at Skaland.
“Whilst R&D is patient work, it is essential to de-risk process development in a controlled, staged, and therefore successful, manner.”
Data from the mini-pilot plant work is being compiled to support the delivery of an updated flowsheet and cost estimate for completion of the CRC-P project in 2021.
It will also support construction of a larger-scale pilot purification plant to further de-risk the process and generate larger customer samples to support qualification prior to commercial AAMP construction.
Other work includes the delivery of an associated AAMP feasibility study in 2022 and evaluating the potential of the process to purify graphite anode materials recovered from lithium-ion batteries recycling.
This article was developed in collaboration with Mineral Commodities, 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.