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iTech Minerals hits high purity graphite milestone


Jul. 03, 2024- iTech Minerals LTD has reported a remarkable achievement in producing a 94% graphite concentrate with a 93% recovery rate from the Lacroma Graphite Project, using conventional flotation processes without additional purification. These bulk flotation tests suggest the potential for a low-cost graphite processing operation, leveraging South Australia’s abundant renewable energy resources. The company’s results indicate scalable production capabilities and promising prospects for a sustainable, cost-effective mining operation.

Conventional processes

The result was achieved using conventional graphite flotation processes, without the need for additional chemical or thermal purification techniques.

iTech will now undertake further examination of the concentrate with the next stages of test work aimed at producing a purified spherical graphite product that meets industry standards for battery anode material in lithium-ion batteries.

“The bulk-scale test work has now shown that the excellent metallurgical properties at Lacroma are consistent at larger scales of operation,” managing director Mike Schwarz said.

Low-cost graphite

The shallow nature of the mineralisation at Lacroma supports iTech’s plan of establishing a low-cost green graphite mining operation there using the abundant renewable energy available in the Eyre Peninsula, where over 2,200MW of wind and solar energy is installed. An additional 10,400MW is planned along with the Hydrogen Utility (H2U) Eyre Peninsula Gateway Project, which aims to include up to 1.5 gigawatts of electrolysis capacity.

“The simple geology and metallurgy of the Lacroma deposit gives it all the hallmarks of a low-risk and potentially low-cost mining operation which will no doubt prove especially important in a global market that has shown volatile graphite pricing,” Mr Schwarz said.

“With the definition of a significant resource, we have the confidence to move forward to the next phase of developing this exciting project and look forward to helping the world meet the graphite shortages that many analysts are predicting over the next decade.” According to Whatech, the global graphite market reached $35.6 billion in 2023 and is expected to reach $58b by 2031.

Eyre Peninsula upgrade

On July 1, iTech revealed it had expanded its Eyre Peninsula project graphite mineral resource estimate (MRE) by more than 300% after approximately 12 months of drilling from early 2023 to 2024. The upgraded MRE stands at 35.2 million tonnes of 6.0% total graphitic carbon (TGC), with a minimum cut-off grade of 2% TGC.

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