IM Graphite News in Brief 15 – 21 January

By Laura Syrett
Published: Thursday, 21 January 2016

Syrah finds recarburiser graphite buyer; Alabama completes battery testing and pulls out of graphene.

Australian explorer Syrah Resources Ltd has signed a statement of sales intent (SSI) to supply graphite to Hiller Carbon LLC, which provides carbon materials to North American electric arc furnace steel producers, among other customers in the paper, foundry, lime, polymer and chemical sectors.

The SSI is valid for a five-year period, with prices for Syrah’s graphite negotiated on an annual basis. Hiller intends to purchase 25,000-35,000 tpa graphite from Syrah’s Balama project in Mozambique, for use as a natural recarburiser.

Hiller will also be granted exclusive rights to sell the Balama recarbursier within the US, Canada and Mexico. The companies intent to investigate the potential for using Balama material in other applications.

TSX-listed Alabama Graphite Corp. has completed downstream lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery tests on coated spherical purified graphite (CSPG), produced from flake graphite from the company’s Coosa Graphite project in Alabama, US.

A total of 60 CE2016 Li-ion half-cell batteries were produced in the US using Alabama Graphite’s CSPC as a material component.

Test results demonstrated that the company’s graphite responded well in CR2016 Li-ion battery coin cell performance testing, achieving near theoretical electrochemical performance.

"The test results confirm Alabama Graphite’s potential midstream capability to manufacture and tailor Li-ion battery anode grade graphite in order to create value-added products to meet highly demanding downstream customer specifications," the company said.

Alabama Graphite also said this week that it is not planning to pursue the graphene business any further, until a major commercial application for the nanocarbon emerges.

In Africa, ASX-listed Magnis Resources Ltd also announced positive test results on the suitability of graphite sourced from its Nachu graphite project in Tanzania as anode material for Li-ion batteries.

A first cycle efficiency rate of 97.1% was achieved, equating to a loss of only 2.9%, which the company said is an improvement of 42% over synthetic graphite. A surface area (BET) of 4.09 m2/gt and tap density of 0.87 g/cc combined with the first cycle efficiency was also achieved.

Tests were carried out in North American laboratories using Nachu graphite concentrate as a feedstock, and micronised coated Nachu graphite upgraded to 99.8% TGC without chemical or thermal purification.

"The results confirm that graphite from the Nachu project has the potential for high end energy and power applications like Li-ion batteries used in the electric vehicle market," Magnis said.

South African resources financier Nedbank has offered Australia-based Kibaran Resources Ltd up to $30m in additional funding for the company’s Epanko graphite project in Tanzania.

The company recently lodged indicative terms and conditions for a senior debt financing deal with German bank KfW IPEX-Bank for up to $40m.

Start-up financing for Epanko has been estimated at $77m, and the company has already secured 10-year offtake agreements with German conglomerate ThyssenKrupp and 10,000 tonnes with a European graphite trader.

Elsewhere in Tanzania, fellow Australian explorer, Black Rock Mining Ltd, has said it will focus on its core Mahenge graphite project, choosing not to exercise an option to purchase the Bagamoyo prospects.

According to the company, a drill programme on the Bagamoyo zone in December yielded poor results, failing to find significant intervals of graphite mineralisation.

Exploration work at the Mahenge prospect meanwhile has facilitated the discovery of significant intervals of graphitic gneiss, including a 123 metre graphitic zone.

A scoping study has now commenced Mahenge, as recent drilling and ongoing metallurgical work are expected to lead to a maiden graphite resource next month. 

The Ontario Ministry of Environment in Canada has approved an amendment to TSX-V-listed Great Lakes Graphite Inc.’s air/noise permit for the company’s Matheson Micronisation Facility, which the company is in the process of commissioning in Ontario.

Great Lakes is now fully permitted and has all the required approvals from the Ontario government, local aboriginal communities and the community of Matheson to proceed with the project.

It is aiming to start production of micronised graphite this quarter, for supplying a regional customer base.

In Australia, Hexagon Resources Ltd has released the results of metallurgical tests on samples from the company’s McIntosh graphite project, which is located in East Kimberley in Western Australia.

Diamond core assays yielded grades ranging from 4% C to 6% C over intersections of up to 62 metres.

The company is planning to release further bulk scale metallurgical results over the coming weeks.

Finally, Vancouver, Canada-based Graphite One Resources Inc. has completed and closed the first tranche of its Canadian dollar (C$) 600,000 ($420,470*) non-brokered private placement.

The company has issued 4.8m units at a price of C$0.09/unit for a total of C$424,090 pursuant to the closing of the placement, with each unit consisting of one common share and one transferable common share purchase warrant.

Each warrant allows the holder to buy an additional common share of the company at C$0.12/share on or before three years from the closing date.

Net proceeds of the offering will be used for the exploration and development of the company’s Graphite Creek project in Alaska, US, and for general working capital purposes.

*Conversion made January 2016

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