Peninsula Mines Ltd (ASX:PSM) has defined an exploration target of 1.1 to 1.7 million tonnes of high-grade, flake graphite from three South Korean projects as part of its integrated graphite supply strategy.
The target from the Gapyeong, Yongwon and Eunha North is 13 to 17 million tonnes grading 8% to 11% total graphitic carbon (TGC).
While the exploration target is conceptual in nature, Peninsula Mines managing director Jon Dugdale is pleased with the outcome.
The majority of the target, 85%, is from the flagship Gapyeong project at which Peninsula will drill define the graphitic units.
Drilling is planned
Drilling access agreements have been signed with two key private landholders at Gapyeong and, subject to approval of the local Gapyeong-gun Council, initial drilling will begin.
This will target a core 240-metre strike length near the centre of the 1,000-metre mapped strike extent of the targeted Gapyeong graphitic units.
Peninsula is also targeting a maiden mineral resource at Gapyeong, which is the country’s north.
The central zone corresponds with the most intense EM anomalies at Gapyeong, from where thick and high-grade channel sampling results were recently obtained.
The rock chip/channel sample, EM anomalies and exploration target locations at Gapyeong.
Dugdale said: “The thickness, high-grade and steeply dipping geometry of the Gapyeong graphitic units indicate they may be amenable to both open pit and subsequent underground mining.
“This potentially underpins our business model of supplying high-quality graphite to the South Korean lithium-ion battery industry.”
Modelling of the EM conductors and mapping of the graphitic units at Gapyeong indicates the two parallel, high-grade, graphitic units have been folded into a synformal structure.
The exploration target has been extended to the projected depth of the synformal fold structure, up to 350 metres vertical depth.
Results from recent drilling and channel sampling at the Eunha project will be further evaluated before a decision is made to undertake additional drilling at Eunha North and/or Eunha Roadhouse prospects.
Further drilling at Eunha is considered a lower priority than drilling of the higher-grade Gapyeong and Yongwon projects.
Peninsula has an agreement in place with a key landholder at Eunha North and could resume drilling activities at any stage.
Forest access negotiations
Drilling at Yongwon has been planned but is on hold pending resolution of forest access negotiations with the Chungju City Council.
The timing of approval for drilling access to the project remains uncertain at this stage.
Should an access agreement be negotiated, a diamond drill program of up to 23 holes has been designed.
Test work continues
Metallurgical testing has achieved in excess of 95% TGC concentrate grades for all of the projects included in the exploration target estimate.
Peninsula will now generate a second flake-graphite concentrate sample of at least 5 kilograms from Gapyeong, in addition to the concentrate sample from Eunha.
This sample will be dispatched to Germany for downstream processing tests targeting production of 99.95% purity, uncoated, spherical-graphite.
This would meet the specifications required for lithium-ion battery production as provided by a key South Korean anode manufacturer.
Adding value in-country
South Korea is one of the world’s largest producers of lithium-ion batteries, but obtains downstream graphite products, including spherical graphite for lithium-Ion battery anodes, predominantly from China.
Peninsula has identified the opportunity to mine and process graphite to produce value-added spherical graphite to directly supply lithium-ion battery manufacturers and other graphite end-users in-country.