International Graphite hits shallow high-grade graphite in WA

Wed 25 Jan 23, 11:35am (AEST)
Pile of graphite
Source: iStock

Key Points

  • “The other battery metal,” graphite, shown to be present in high-grades at the company’s WA-based Springdale project
  • Company says latest drill results confirm the veracity of its existing geological models
  • Data from today will be used to progress Springdale’s feasibility assessment and other key studies

ASX-listed graphite explorer operating in Western Australia (WA) International Graphite (ASX:IG6) has today reported its discovery of multiple graphite hits at the company’s Springdale Project

Graphite drilling results are expressed in the term of “Total Graphitic Carbon” (TGC), given the metal’s tendency to occur in flake-like deposits underground as opposed to veins. It can be found in pegmatites on occasion, according to Mindat. 

Not all graphite is equal and to be made into a battery-compatible product, it must be reduced to “fines” on the scale of microns and then spherised. This downstream hurdle can typically be what makes or breaks a graphite play; the outcomes of that process for IG6 remain to be seen. 

Geoscience Australia notes graphite’s inclusion as an anode (read: conductive element) in Electric Vehicle (EV) batteries and batteries in general, also backed up by 2020 research from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).

So what TGC has IG6 found? 

The company reported the following drill results on Wednesday from a dual-style drill run that incorporated a Diamond Drill (DD) rig and a Reverse Circulation (RC) rig. 

DD drilling allows greater depths and collects whole cylindrical core samples in the drilling barrel chamber while RC drilling effectively collects rock chips from underground. 

The company’s exploration team is reporting: 

  • 4.6m @ 11.1% TGC from 81m depth 

  • 10.1m @ 13% TGC from 88m depth, including 

    • 02m @ 22.5% TGC 

  • 8.8m @ 8.3% TGC from 22m depth 

  • 2.5m @ 13% TGC from 57m depth 

  • 8.6m @ 14.8% TGC from 9.4m depth, including 

    • 1.6m @ 32.4% TGC from 15m depth

  • 23m @ 9.6% TGC from 10m depth 

Of first and foremost interest to investors will likely be that the 3,300 metre drilling program (12 DD holes and 39 RC infill holes) has shown TGC at variable depths on-site, with high-grades at less than 10m depth. 

Why is depth so important? 

The deeper mineralisation occurs, the more expensive it is to get it out of the ground. 

An underground mine is incredibly expensive, as too is an open-cut operation that does not actually hit any commercial-scale product in its first months of life. 

So, the fact that International Graphite has decent grades of graphite sitting at only 9.4m depth is a promising indication that future feasibility studies for the project would be comfortably bankable. 

That is exactly what these latest results will be used to work towards.

“The data from this drilling provides key geological input that will be used in the next stage of resource modelling as we progress mining studies and feasibility assessment,” company CEO Andrew Worland said.

“These diamond drill results give us great confidence about the quality and potential of the Springdale resource and its capacity to sustain a shallow, long life open pit mining operation.”

Making sense of grades 

A 10% TGC read is typically considered high-grade. 

Castle Minerals, (ASX:CDT) a graphite explorer in Ghana, attaches to its project a JORC compliant Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) of grades up to 10.4% TGC. 

Black Rock Mining (ASX:BKT), operating in Tanzania, has an MRE assuming a flat 7.8% TGC. 

iTech Minerals’ (ASX:ITM) Campoona project boasts 9% TGC, and, Evolution Energy Minerals’ (ASX:EV1) project also located in Tanzania has a global resource of 5%, according to a January 2022 note from Bridge Street Capital. 

IG6's one year chart
IG6's one year chart


Written By

Jonathon Davidson

Finance Writer

Jonathon is a journalism graduate and avid market watcher with exposure to governance, NGO and mining environments. He was most recently hired as an oil and gas specialist for a trade publication.

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