We are pleased to provide an update to shareholders and stakeholders as to progress and plans with respect to the ongoing graphite usage study.
A leading independent specialist laboratory is under engagement to optimize process and qualify graphite produced at our Black Crystal plant for high value markets. The research will continue through 2018. The Company has received the second of a series of reports and is pleased to report positive results from the study.
This report utilizes a new flow process for purifying graphite suitable for lithium-ion batteries. Current industrial practices typically employ substances such as hydrofluoric acid (toxic and environmentally damaging) prior to the application of a coating and baking in an Acheson furnace (which imposes time and volume constraints).
Highlights of Results:
The objective of upgrading 95 wt%C graphite to premium 99.95 wt%C (advanced battery grade purity) was exceeded.
Exceptionally high purity flake graphite (99.9994 wt%C) was isolated. This purity exceeds the ASTM standard requirement for ‘nuclear grade’ graphite.
The new flow process was superior to the process we used in the past and that which is still widely used in industry for production of high purity graphite.
There was no requirement for environmentally damaging acids.
High value basket combinations of graphite products were isolated. Additional results are forth-coming and the results will be published by EGA once finalised.
Eagle recognizes the high relative price points for high purity graphite and believes Black Crystal sourced graphite is uniquely positioned to serve these applications. In this study it was proposed to take 95 wt%C run of plant material and further purify to >99.98 wt%C, via a proprietary continuous process, free of toxic acids such as hydrofluoric and nitric acid. This alternative purification process resulted in an extremely pure sample at 99.9994% wt%C. The specialist authors of the report believe “it is easy to purify the Black Crystal flake because the impurities are loosely held on the surface; they are not embedded into the flake as gangue.”
This welcome development shows the potential to exceed the ASTM requirements for nuclear grade graphite products, which command a high price premium due to their very demanding specifications.
Eagle Graphite CEO Jamie Deith states, “The ongoing study continues to confirm the wide range of potential uses and applicability that Black Crystal graphite has for global customers. A revised flowsheet for secondary processing suggests that the Company will be able to produce battery graphite and other high value products in a simpler and environmentally responsible fashion.”
Torey Marshall, Eagle’s EVP of Business Development, adds “Most importantly in the change of proposed flow processes – Black Crystal‘s yield of high purity, high value products could be significantly enhanced. Based on a ‘traditional’ approach, the yield of spherical material that could be used in advanced applications may be around 35%, whereas the yield in the new process could be around 70% with efficient classification technology. This is potentially double the yield and increases the high purity graphite available for use in end products such as lithium-ion batteries. Equally, the residual graphite could be further refined for other high value markets lifting the basket price achieved from the Black Crystal operation.”
SEM Image: Black Crystal Flake, 99.9994 wt%C Purity
Torey Marshall, BSc (Hons), MSc (Geology), MAusIMM(CP), a “Qualified Person” as defined by NI 43-101, has reviewed and approved the scientific and technical information in this release.
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