Graphite supplied by Evolution Energy Minerals (ASX: EV1) has passed testwork that validates its use in a 'super-premium' class of lithium-ion battery anode materials used in automotive and energy storage sectors.
“Preliminary battery testing has demonstrated electrochemical performance that is essentially as good as it gets, due primarily to the unique properties of Chilalo flake graphite," commented Evolution's Managing Director, Phil Hoskins.
“These factors point toward the suitability of Chilalo graphite to producing the highest quality lithium-ion battery anode materials that attract premium prices," he added.
This class of active anode material sells for US$18,000 to US$22,000 a tonne, compared to graphite concentrate prices that range between US$700 to US$3,500 a tonne.
The results provide Evolution with 'compelling justification' to progress feasibility studies for the construction of a battery anode materials production facility.
To add some context, Evolution has released a string of testwork updates in the past few weeks. In summary:
Initial testwork: Established that graphite from Chilalo contained extremely low amounts of Molybdenum and Boron, a prerequisite for battery and nuclear customers
Second testwork: Purification of graphite achieved grades that ‘easily’ exceed levels required for battery and nuclear applications
Current testwork: Took the purificated graphite through a process of shaping and milling, to produce coated spherical graphite
The current mill and shape testwork generated yields of 64% spherical graphite, well-above industry average yields of around 40%.
"Lithium-ion batteries that use Chilalo coated spherical graphite will have exceptional cycle life and very high recharge efficient compared to competing products," the company said in the testwork announcement.
The graphite has been analysed for five continuous charge-discharge cycles and demonstrated "excellent stability in the electrochemical capacity, cycle over cycle."
Evolution said the ongoing testwork has generated enough data to commence product qualification initiatives with leading battery manufacturers.
The company expects to deliver long-term cycle testwork results in the coming weeks.
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