Low-cost quality graphite is another boost for Sovereign’s Kasiya project

Sovereign’s Kasiya rutile project in Malawi has received an economic boost after analysis found its flake graphite co-product could be produced at the lower end of the cost curve.

With a world-leading contained graphite resource of 23 Mt, this gives the project the potential to take a dominant position in the market for high-purity coarse flake graphite that can be used in lithium-ion batteries and other applications. more traditional.

Sovereign Metals (ASX:SVM) could also benefit from a high graphite basket price, as Kasiya’s graphite flake particle size distribution compares favorably to that of its industry peers.

To top it all off, production of the project’s high-quality natural graphite concentrate is expected to produce just 0.2 t of carbon dioxide equivalent per tonne of graphite, or about five times less greenhouse gas emissions per compared to natural graphite produced in the Chinese province of Heilongjiang.

Kasiya also home to the world’s largest rutile resource at 18 billion tonnes grading 1.01% rutile, or 18 Mt of the valuable titanium dioxide feedstock, the discovery highlights its economic potential ahead of the update imminent of the 2021 scoping study.

“Not only is Kasiya the world’s largest rutile deposit and one of the largest flake graphite resources, our latest graphite industry benchmarking also demonstrates Kasiya’s potential to be a dominant supplier to the world. ‘global scale and a large-scale, low-cost flake graphite producer,’ manages director Dr Julian Stephens said.

“Importantly, the very low graphite production costs at Kasiya should allow Sovereign to compete aggressively on price in global graphite markets.”

Low cost graphite

The benchmarking exercise comparing the production cost of Kasiya’s graphite co-product based on the December 2021 scoping study results to peer-to-peer flake graphite projects.

This revealed that Kasiya has an average free on board (FOB) operating cost over the life of mine of US$352 per tonne of rutile and graphite produced.

If flake graphite production is considered incremental to primary rutile production, the operating cost is US$155/t of graphite produced.

This compares favorably to companies such as Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR)which had FOB mining costs of US$464/t during the first quarter of this year.

Sovereign attributes the low cost of production to the production of graphite as a co-product, soft, friable mineralization hosted in saprolite that can be mined from surface using low-cost hydro-mining methods. compared to its hard rock counterparts, and to the project. location just 40 km from Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi.

Initial metallurgical testing of the graphite also demonstrated the potential to produce a large flake, high purity natural graphite product at a total graphite content of 96%.

This product has a favorable flake size distribution with over 60% in the most valuable, large to super-jumbo fractions, and exhibits superior chemical characteristics and high crystallinity that make it suitable for use in lithium ion batteries.

Sovereign has initiated a comprehensive program of large-scale metallurgy and downstream testing to build on these initial results and confirm the commercial potential of Kasiya’s graphite by-product.

This article was developed in conjunction with Sovereign Metals, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publication.

This article does not constitute advice on financial products. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.

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