Hexagon Resources Ltd’s (ASX:HXG) follow-up purification test work on a large-scale graphite sample from its McIntosh Flake Graphite Project in Western Australia has yielded ultra-high purity (99.999%) graphite results.
Notably, the purity achieved from the 20-kilogram sample confirms the ability for McIntosh graphite to exceed the carbon purity specification for the nuclear graphite industry.
This further confirms and underpins Hexagon’s downstream graphite strategy focused on low-cost purification targeting high-end specialty markets.
Hexagon’s test work also confirmed virtually no notable concentrations of critical elements potentially deleterious to advanced batteries and to a number of other high-tech applications.
Hexagon managing director Mike Rosenstreich said: “Five-nines (99.999%) purification results for a 20-kilogram batch sample is another important outcome towards commercialising our downstream graphite process.
“We are targeting specific larger-scale markets. We have seen that our flake is easily purified, and when refined through the highly productive EFB furnace technology available to us, we expect to achieve an industry-leading low purification cost producing an ultra-high purity graphite material.
“The issue is not whether the material is 99.95% pure; but what is in that remaining 0.05% - with critical impurity specifications for each element generally at the 1 to 100 ppm level (ie .0001 wt.% and less).
“There is an increasing awareness of the importance of purity mitigating risks in high-tech applications.”
Hexagon has a joint venture agreement with Mineral Resources Ltd (ASX:MIN) under which MIN funds all project development work until commercial production is achieved.
Hexagon intends to use its 49% allocation of graphite concentrates as feedstock for its downstream processing strategy.
A scoping study evaluating the downstream business case is in progress and is expected to be complete in late Q1 to early Q2, 2019.
This will comprise purification downstream processing into two product lines: battery materials and electrode lines.
Planned graphite product lines based on McIntosh flake source.
Hexagon is targeting an industry-leading thermal refining capability, which enables low purification cost of less than US$600 per tonne of concentrate feed, which compares very favourably to the average cost of environmentally irresponsible acid purification in China.
Importantly, the production of ultra-high purity, highly crystalline McIntosh flake graphite will allow Hexagon to access unique markets and receive a premium price in value-added natural graphite product sales.
Relationship between purity and price for Hexagon’s planned products.