Downstream testwork on Sovereign Metals’ Kasiya rutile project in Malawi has shown the graphite co-product has excellent suitability for use in lithium-ion batteries. 

The Kasiya project is the largest natural rutile deposit and one of the largest flake graphite deposits in the world – both minerals which are critical to several of the world’s economies and decarbonisation targets.

The graphite product was shown to have superior qualities including:

  • Near perfect crystallinity – an indicator of battery anode performance;
  • Above benchmark >99.95% carbon purity; and
  • No critical impurities or deleterious elements commonly found in other natural graphite sources.

Further testwork is now underway to optimise concentrate grade and confirm an optimal purification process.

In 2022, the lithium-ion battery anode market became the biggest end-market for natural flake graphite, with demand for anodes growing 46% in 2022 – compared to only 14% growth in natural flake graphite supply.

And greater capacity batteries, such as those required for electric vehicles, are expected to drive significant demand for graphite over the coming years.

“The latest graphite downstream testwork confirms the superior crystallinity and purity of Kasiya’s natural graphite,” Sovereign Metals (ASX:SVM) MD Dr Julian Stephens said.

“These results bolster Kasiya’s competitive advantage, indicating that not only does the project have the potential to be a dominant rutile supplier, but also a dominant supplier of graphite suitable for the lithium-ion battery industry.

“Kasiya’s PFS is progressing well with the company looking forward to releasing the outcomes of the study in coming months.”

Graphite demand / supply showing market deficit beginning 2025E
Source: Macquarie Research (March 2023)

Low-cost graphite mining potential

The Kasiya project has the potential to be the one of the world’s lowest cost and lowest global warming potential (GWP) sources of natural graphite.

It has a geological benefit with both natural graphite and rutile hosted in soft, friable saprolite material at surface that can be mined, beneficiated, and purified with a considerably lower carbon footprint than hard-rock operations or synthetic graphite production.

“Kasiya will potentially be one of the lowest cost flake graphite projects in the world and is also estimated to have one of the lowest global warming potentials of any current and future graphite projects,” Dr Stephens said.

“Producers and end users of lithium-ion batteries are already closely monitoring the carbon footprint associated with the raw materials that feed into battery technology.”



This article was developed in collaboration with Sovereign Metals Limited, 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.