Lithium Energy is getting ready for a massive program of work at its Burke Graphite Project in early 2022, as it continues to assess plans that could make it a vertically integrated supplier of the battery commodity.
The not so secret weapon of Lithium Energy’s (ASX:LEL) Burke project in North Queensland is that it’s remarkably high grade.
The Burke deposit contains 6.3Mt of inferred resources at 16.2% true graphitic content with a high grade component of 2.3Mt at 20.3%.
The industry norm is between 4-6%.
That suggests it should be a good feedstock for the battery industry, something LEL is testing out on two fronts.
Firstly, the CSIRO is completing test work using core samples from the Burke project to create a high purity graphite concentrate that can be used for spheronisation and purification testwork.
If successful, that would demonstrate the potential of flake graphite from Burke to be used in lithium ion batteries. The test work, funded 50% by CSIRO through its Kick-Start Program, is expected to be completed in the March quarter.
Meanwhile, LEL has also received submissions from a number of engineering companies to advance studies on establishing a purified spherical graphite manufacturing hub in Queensland.
The hub would be potentially located at or near the North Queensland Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub.
PSG, a key component in lithium ion batteries, trades at around a 10-times multiple of raw graphite materials.
Drilling planned for new year
Major drilling programs have also been planned for LEL’s Burke and Corella tenements.
At Burke, LEL is planning to upgrade part of the JORC inferred resource to the ‘indicated’ category, a higher confidence level with narrower spaced drilling that can be converted into ore reserves.
This upgrade will facilitate the completion of PSG manufacturing studies, and finalise the annual production capacity of a proposed plant.
Drilling is expected to start in the March quarter once access permits and approvals have been received.
Around 2,000m of drill core will be completed across 15 holes to a maximum depth of 150m.
A 2,000m RC program is also expected to take place in the March quarter at the Corella tenement, 150km south of Burke, where graphite grading 5-10% TGC is widespread in outcropping Milo beds.
LEL wants to test the extent of graphite mineralisation identified in an EM survey in 2018, which highlighted an area of about 1,000 by 500m with similar conductive features to the high grade graphite areas at the Burke tenement.
The conductive features identified at the Corella Tenement appear to be shallow to flat-lying and occur in areas of outcropping and sub-cropping graphite that have rock chips of up to 14.85% TGC.
This article was developed in collaboration with Lithium Energy, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.