Archer Materials Limited (ASX:AXE) has successfully used natural flake graphite from the company’s 100% owned Eyre Peninsula Graphite Project (EPGP) in South Australia to produce coated spherical graphite.
CEO, Dr Mohammad Choucair, said the company has also been successful is testing the material in proof of concept lithium-ion battery cells.
“Graphite is a mineral categorised by many world economies as ‘critical’ and important to their long-term economic growth and supply-chain security,” Dr Choucair said.
“We have demonstrated high-value graphite materials can be developed from Campoona and are relevant to the growing global markets serviced by lithium-ion batteries, including electric vehicles and portable electronics.
“As a materials technology company, we believe securing critical mineral assets in Australia, like our 100% owned EPGP graphite resource, is a good economic decision, and through successful development could return maximum benefit to shareholders and the community.”
According to Dr Choucair, coated spherical graphite (CSG) is one of the highest value-added processed forms of flake graphite concentrate used in the lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery industry.
A commercially available amorphous carbon material was used to coat Archer’s spherical graphite (95% and 99%+ concentrates from Campoona) by applying industry accepted methods and the CSG performance tested in Li-ion battery coin cells in half-cell configuration i.e. only the performance of the CSG in the anode was tested.
The CSG materials were characterised using spectroscopy, microscopy, and diffraction methods, which confirmed the coating process was successful.
Dr Choucair said the anode performance was in-line with industry benchmarks for CSG materials, including for reversible capacities and few-cycle capacity retention.
He added that the CSG could potentially be more conducive to process efficiencies compared to spherical graphite alone, as the reversible discharge capacities could be achieved with a reduction in electrode loadings (i.e. mass to volume/area).
Dr Choucair said Archer will use the outcomes of the CSG testing to pursue commercial opportunities for end- use integration in the Li-ion battery supply chain with potential EPGP co-development partners to ensure that the company can successfully add value to Campoona, and that the project can be developed to return maximum benefit to shareholders and the community.
The EPGP mineral resource is located approximately 220km northwest of Adelaide, South Australia.
Significant progress has been made by Archer on the development of the EPGP since the granting of a Mineral Lease in December 2017.
Campoona graphite is structurally near-perfect down to the atomic scale; It is a versatile feedstock to high-value graphene materials; It can be used to produce commercially scalable full-cell configuration Li-ion batteries; It can be converted into high value spherical graphite for integration into Li-ion batteries.
Archer has submitted a Programme for Environment Protection and Rehabilitation (PEPR) and maintains a compliant Mineral Lease.