• Testwork from multiple labs show up to 97.8% graphite content at Sovereign Metals’ Kasiya
  • Low-cost >55% TGC rougher concentrate produced without milling or crushing
  • Kasiya is the largest rutile and second-largest flake graphite deposit in the world


Special Report: Testwork of Kasiya’s graphite conducted at multiple independent labs across the world have all successfully produced high grades of up to 97.8% total graphitic content at high flotation recoveries of up to 97.2% – confirming Sovereign Metals’ ability to produce a low cost, high quality product.

Backed by Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO), which bought a 15% stake in the company last year, Sovereign Metals (ASX:SVM) is making sure its world class Kasiya graphite and rutile project, which carries a post-tax NPV on study metrics of US$1.6 billion, produces the highest quality concentrates.

The Kasiya project in Malawi is both the largest rutile and second-largest flake graphite deposit in the world, with a 1.8 billion tonne resource grading 1% rutile and 1.4% graphite.

A pre-feasibility study last September pegged output from Kasiya at a run rate of 222,000tpa rutile and 244,000tpa natural graphite across a 25-year mine life – which would make it one of the biggest producers in the world.


High grade concentrates from Kasiya confirmed

Testwork completed from all four independent labs in Canada, Australia and South Africa have successfully produced high-grade graphite concentrate from Kasiya ore averaging over 97% TGC with flotation recoveries exceeding 90%.

Flotation results demonstrated 1.44% TGC run-of-mine Kasiya ore upgrades to more than 55% TGC rougher concentrate without crushing or milling – process steps typically required for producing graphite concentrates from hard-rock deposits.

Testwork also shows that the graphite concentrates indicate exceptionally low levels of sulphur compared to typical hard-rock graphite peers – a key metric to qualify as active anode material for lithium-ion batteries.

Results are part of ongoing testwork being undertaken as part of the Company’s graphite marketing and active anode qualification strategy, supervised by graphite and anode expert Dr Surinder Ghag.

The graphite circuit feed provided to the various laboratories was produced at the company’s existing laboratory facility in Lilongwe, Malawi, where it was screened and separated over a wet shaking table.

The graphite feed grades of 3.5%-4% TGC to the graphite circuit are significantly higher than the current resource grade of 1.44%, highlighting the ~2.4-2.8-fold upgrading of graphite grades when ROM ore passes through the front-end rutile gravity separation circuit.

SVM says it demonstrates the ease of separating the rutile heavy mineral and graphite streams from the front end of the Kasiya PFS process flowsheet.


The high-level process flowsheet for rutile and graphite production at Kasiya. Pic: SVM


Pilot-scale testwork has also confirmed the laboratory-scale results with >90% TGC recovery to high-grade graphite concentrates (<180-micron concentrate at 96.9% TGC and >180-micron concentrate at 97.2% TGC).

SVM MD Frank Eagar says the company’s ability to upgrade Kasiya ore at 1.4% graphite to a 55% rougher concentrate without any crushing or milling highlights the unique qualities of the deposit.

“There are very limited other graphite projects with these characteristics,” Eager says.

“The pilot-scale results also confirm that Kasiya produces high-grade concentrates with very low sulphur levels at high recoveries.

“Simply put, Kasiya will be a standout producer of high-quality graphite concentrate at industry low operating costs.”

Kasiya concentrate has now been sent for downstream testwork to graphite consultancy ProGraphite to produce and characterise active anode material for lithium-ion batteries.

ProGraphite is conducting shaping, purification, and coating testwork to produce CSPG and evaluate the electrochemical performance of Kasiya CSPG. This will provide baseline data for further optimisation and engagement with off-takers.

Initial outcomes of this test work are expected in the coming week.



This article was developed in collaboration with Sovereign Metals, 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.