Triton Minerals produces battery grade spherical graphite from Mozambique project

grey lithium-ion battery top view
 

(2015-08-21) Triton Minerals has locked in on growing battery sector with initial laboratory tests producing spherical graphite from graphite concentrate sourced from its Nicanda Hill Project in Mozambique.

This follows the start of trial production of enhanced graphite products earlier this month at partner Yichang Xincheng Graphite Co., Ltd’s Dongyang factory in China.

Spherical graphite is ideally suited for lithium ion batteries and energy storage applications within the multi-billion dollar battery sector.

This has the potential to increase the range of Triton Mozambique Graphite (TMG) products and increase revenues.

Triton will now review the additional options available and consider the benefits of incorporating a scaled production process of spherical graphite into future product streams.

Further testing will also continue to optimize performance and recoveries rates.

Brad Boyle, managing director, commented:

“These tests confirm that Nicanda Hill graphite is ideally suited for the creation of the high value spherical graphite which is the foundation for the energy storage and electric vehicles markets.

“The battery market is an exciting, high growth sector. Triton will investigate incorporating spherical graphite production into future processing operations.”

Laboratory Testing

Nicanda Hill flake graphite concentrate was utilised due to the presence of naturally occurring high purity finer flake material, which reduces time and costs required to grind the particles to the required size.

Initial tests produced a wide range of spherical graphite particles ranging from 5 to 40 microns.

These are suitable for both course sizing li-ion batteries with particle sizes ranging from
25 microns to 48 microns and the fine sizing batteries that require spherical graphite with particle sizes ranging from 3 microns to 25 microns.

Lithium-Ion Batteries

The battery market is a rapidly growing sector with demand forecast to grow at approximately 9% per annum based on the growth forecasts in the li-ion battery demand.

This is driven mainly by the growth in hybrid and electric cars such as the Toyota Prius, BYD and Tesla.

The value of li-ion batteries in light duty consumer vehicles is expected to grow to $24.1 billion in 2023 from $3.2 billion in 2013.

About 90% of spherical graphite produced around the world is used in batteries.

It is estimated that 60,000 tonnes per year of graphite is consumed in the manufacture of anodes for lithium ion batteries (35,000 tonnes natural graphite and 25,000 tonnes synthetic graphite).

An average electric vehicle will require between 100 and 250 kilograms of graphite each depending on the size and power requirements.

Should the EV market grows as expected, the demand for graphite and in particular spherical graphite will grow accordingly and the total amount of graphite required to sustain this growth is projected to be almost 1.6 million tonnes per year by 2020.

Triton expects to be able to produce natural spherical graphite at a fraction of the cost to produce artificial graphite, which is made from a by-product of refining oil using an energy intensive and expensive process.

Analysis

Triton Minerals is increasingly well positioned to supply the growing battery sector with laboratory testing producing spherical graphite suitable for li-ion batteries.

This combined with one of the largest high grade flake graphite deposit is encouraging given the value of li-ion batteries in light duty electric consumer vehicle is expected to grow to $24.1 billion in 2023.

Looking ahead, the Nicanda Hill Definitive Feasibility Study and Environmental and Social Impact Assessment remain on track for completion by the end of 2015.

Other share price catalysts include results from Nicanda Hill drilling; upgrade of resource classification at Nicanda Hill; and results from metallurgical testing.

Source: Proactive Investors

Photo: File / Triton Minerals has produced spherical graphite suited for lithium ion batteries from graphite concentrate sourced from its Nicanda Hill Project in Mozambique

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