Unprecedented demand for battery metals is swinging attention to graphite and the critical role it plays in the batteries needed to power electric vehicles and renewable energy, and global hopes for a sustainable future.
This is where International Graphite (ASX:IG6) comes into play. Based in Western Australia, the company is on track to be one of Australia’s first mine-to-market graphite producers and a new supplier of battery anode material to global battery manufacturers.
Of all the components in a lithium-ion battery, the biggest volume is in graphite which makes up 95 percent of the battery anode. It can take 50 to 100 kilograms of graphite to make a single battery – up to 10 times more graphite than lithium.
Photo credit: Visual Capitalist
Analysts agree that demand for graphite is inextricably linked to the surging demand for clean energy and graphite is in limited supply. The world now faces a significant shortage – one which will only grow more severe as economies ramp up their efforts to achieve net-zero.
The United States alone predicts a graphite shortfall of up to 1.2 million metric tons by 2030, to say nothing of how severe the shortage is likely to be on a global scale.
The graphite supply chain is racing to keep pace. Benchmark Mineral Intelligence predicts the world will need at least 97 new flake graphite mines by 2035. Although opening new graphite mines is a good start, the raw material alone will not meet the need for high quality, processed graphite suitable for making battery anodes. Currently, nearly every kilogram of battery anode material is processed through China and battery manufacturers worldwide are looking for additional and alternative supply. The pressure is on resource nations worldwide to develop downstream processing capability.
International Graphite is currently developing a planned graphite mine at Springdale, on Western Australia’s south coast, linked to a state-of-the-art research and downstream processing hub in the industrial town of Collie.
A pilot scale micronising and spheroidising plant has been commissioned at Collie, which is in the centre of Western Australia’s main electricity generation grid. A graphite micronising plant, with a capacity of approximately 4,000 tons per annum (tpa), is expected to be operational in 2024.
The company’s vision for a complete mine-to-market business is designed to achieve maximum value from the natural graphite resource. Operating exclusively in Western Australia, it leverages one of the most attractive jurisdictions in the world for resource investment with the backing of supportive government policy and an ethical graphite supply chain built on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Ultimately, International Graphite is designing its entire business to be as efficient and sustainable as possible, bringing new graphite supplies to market, new jobs to Australian regional communities, and new export opportunities to the nation. Its model is closely aligned with the Australian Government’s critical minerals strategy and the Western Australian Government’s vision for a world-class renewable energy and battery hub around Collie.
To date, International Graphite has received more than AU$6.7 million in combined state and federal government investment.
International Graphite (ASX:IG6) is on track to be one of Australia’s first mine-to-market graphite producers and a new supplier of battery anode material to global battery manufacturers.Primary focus is battery anode material for lithium-ion batteries, supporting the global revolution in electric vehicles and green energy technologies.Operating exclusively in Western Australia, one of the world’s most reliable and attractive jurisdictions for resource investment and mineral supply.Currently developing a planned graphite mine at Springdale and a state-of-the-art research and downstream processing hub in the industrial town of Collie. 100-percent company-owned graphite resource at Springdale is expected to support a long life mining operation ensuring a secure, stable supply of graphite concentrate feed for value-added processing.Downstream facilities being developed in Collie – the heart of Western Australia’s power generation infrastructure.A micronising pilot plant has been commissioned with commercial micronising scheduled by 2024.Enormous graphite potential at Springdale Graphite Project following successful 2022/2023 drilling campaign.Total Springdale mineral resource estimate grew from 15.3 Mt @ 6 percent total graphitic carbon (TGC) to 49.3 Mt @ 6.5 percent TGC, making it the second largest known graphite deposit in Australia.The integrated business is underpinned by strong technical expertise and rigorous environmental social and governance standards.Strong community support including AU$6.7 million Australian government investment.
Springdale Graphite Resource
Outstanding results have been achieved from exploration drilling at Springdale, on Western Australia’s south coast, where International Graphite owns a high-grade fine flake graphite deposit.
Comprising three exploration licenses and a prospecting license covering a total area of 180 square kilometers, International Graphite’s Springdale Project is located 25 kilometres east of Hopetoun and 150 kilometres from the port of Esperance on Western Australia’s south coast.
An extensive drilling program has been completed defining four new graphite targets from the first of seven potential anomalies identified by aeromagnetic survey. These are located very close to the existing mineral resource. Extensive areas are yet to be investigated and the company is confident that additional reserves will be discovered in the future.
Metallurgical testing has shown that the Springdale resource is well-suited to battery anode material production and would support a long-lived shallow open-pit mining operation.
Completion of the extensive 2022-2023 drilling campaign has paved the way for an increased mineral resource estimate that hailed the Springdale Graphite project as the second largest known graphite deposit in Australia. Total Springdale mineral resource estimate has been expanded from 15.3 Mt @ 6 percent total graphitic carbon (TGC) to 49.3 Mt @ 6.5 percent TGC.
Promising Geology: The project is located on cleared agricultural land and within the Albany Frazer Belt, one of Australia’s foremost exploration regions.Existing Resource: An inferred mineral estimate puts the Springdale Resource at 15.6 million tons of graphite at 6 percent total graphitic carbon content (TGC), including a high-grade inferred mineral resource of 2.6 million tons at 17.5 percent TGC.Excellent Drilling Results: A strong 2022-2023 drilling campaign paved the way for a new mineral resource estimate making the Springdale Graphite Project the second-largest known graphite deposit in Australia. The company has completed 20,466 meters of drilling since June 2022, building on 7,900 meters of prior drilling. Results include four new graphite discoveries and confirmation of high-grade domains in the existing resource model and block performance.Sustainable Mining: Mining will involve multiple shallow open pits, targeting weathered/oxide mineralization zones. The operation will primarily comprise free digging with limited drilling and blasting.High-quality Mineralisation: Metallurgical analysis has shown that a 95 percent graphite concentrate can be made from Springdale and can be upgraded to battery grade 99.95 percent through purification.Downstream Processing: Graphite concentrates produced at Springdale will be transported 450 kilometres by road to Collie, where International Graphite plans to construct a graphite micronising facility and an advanced battery anode material manufacturing plant. A pilot micronising plant – one of the most advanced of its kind in Australia – was commissioned in 2022.Collie Downstream Processing
Collie Downstream Processing
International Graphite’s multifaceted processing operation will incorporate state-of-the-art research and development facilities with separate operations for graphite micronising and battery anode material production.
A pilot scale graphite micronising and spheroidising equipment commissioned in 2022 has since been upgraded to a larger, qualification scale plant which will launch the International Graphite brand in world markets and provide product samples for customer testing and qualification.
A definitive feasibility study has been completed for the establishment of a commercial scale micronising operation at Collie with a nominal capacity of 4,000 tpa. Besides being a product in its own right, micronised graphite is also a by-product in the manufacture of battery anode material. The micronising plant is expected to be operational before the end of 2024 and will use imported graphite concentrate feed until the Company’s Springdale mine and concentrator comes online creating a fully integrated circuit.
This approach is strategically timed to generate early cashflow for the business, as well as establishing early markets.
An initial scoping study has also been released for the establishment of a second manufacturing operation that will produce coated and uncoated purified, spheroidised graphite for lithium-ion battery anodes. Land has been earmarked at Collie with construction expected to commence in 2026.
Located at the southern end of Western Australia’s main industrial strip, the town of Collie has many strategic advantages for industry. The Western Australian Government has committed an unprecedented AU$650 million to support regional economic growth and to advance the region as a hub for critical mineral processing and renewable energy.
Emerging battery and renewable energy hub:Collie is the centre of Western Australia’s electricity generation infrastructure transitioning from coalstrong investment in renewables ensures ready access to “green” powerskilled technical workforce and training facilitiesefficient transport with extensive road and rail infrastructurestrong community and government support for International GraphiteEstablished R&D Facilities:first premises and R&D hub established in Collie light industrial areapilot scale micronising and spheroidising plant successfully commissioned in 2022micronising qualification-scale equipment installed to support product testing, customer agreements and market acceptanceAustralia’s first high thermal graphite furnace on site – supporting the development of graphite purification processesBattery Anode Material (BAM) Facility:site for the future BAM plant selected at Collie.scoping study released with economic modeling showing strong business caseproposed facilities capable of processing up to 40kt/y of graphite concentrates to produce uncoated and coated purified/spheroidising/coated graphite suitable for BAM
Key Management Personnel
Phil Hearse – Chairman
One of Australia’s leading metallurgists and an authority on graphite project development, Phil Hearse founded International Graphite in 2018 and continues to lead the company’s growth and development. An engineer with more than 40 years of experience in diverse and challenging projects around the world, his extensive career has taken him from operational and technical roles at Broken Hill, Bougainville Copper, Queensland Nickel (QNI) and Gove Alumina to senior executive and managerial positions in engineering and operating companies.
Hearse is the owner and managing director of Battery Limits, one of Australia’s leading graphite metallurgy and process engineering firms. The company has assisted many listed public companies to develop bankable feasibility studies for graphite mines and concentrators and has generated significant intellectual property in downstream processing and knowledge of the end use market. Hearse has an MBA from Hull University UK and a Bachelor of Applied Science in primary metallurgy from the University of SA. He is a fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and a fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.
Andrew Worland – Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer
Andrew Worland is a mining executive and experienced ASX/TSX director with over 25 years in senior finance, corporate, project management and marketing roles in the Western Australian mining sector.
Worland’s commodity experience includes exploration, development and operations in lead, zinc, nickel, cobalt, gold, iron ore, molybdenum, copper and uranium. He has a Bachelor of Commerce with a major in finance and marketing from the University of Western Australia and is a qualified chartered company secretary and fellow of the Governance Institute of Australia.
David Pass – Non-executive Director & Chief Technical Officer
David Pass has played a key role in the technical development of International Graphite since the company’s inception. A metallurgist with 30 years in the mining industry, he brings a mix of operational processing, process design, project, due diligence skills and management experience including mine operations experience with Barrick Gold.
Pass is chief executive officer of Battery Limits and an acknowledged expert in graphite primary and downstream processing and has led several studies in graphite project development to definitive feasibility level. He holds a Bachelor of Science in metallurgy from Murdoch University and is a member of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.
Matthew O’Kane – Non-executive Director
Matthew O’Kane is a senior mineral industry executive and company director with 25 years’ experience in the mining, commodities, and automotive sectors. He has held senior leadership roles in Australia, the US and Asia, in both developed and emerging markets, from start-up companies through to MNC’s. He has served on the board of mining companies in Canada, Hong Kong and Australia, and is currently managing director of Comet Resources (ASX:CRL) and a non-executive director of Azarga Uranium (TSX:AZZ) and Pursuit Minerals (ASX:PUR). O’Kane has been a non-executive director of International Graphite since the company was listed in April 2022.
Robert Hodby – Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary
Robert Hodby is a finance and accounting specialist with more than 20 years’ experience in the Australian resource and energy sector, including seven years as CFO and company secretary of Kibaran Resources(ASX:KNL), the predecessor to Australian graphite company EcoGraf (ASX:EGR). A member of CPA Australia and member of the Governance Institute of Australia, Hodby specialises in the financial management and administration of public and listed companies at both operational and corporate levels. During his career, he has held numerous executive and project management positions as well as CFO, board and company secretarial roles, with a strong track record in corporate finance, capital raising and international product marketing, particularly in the emerging graphite market.