Archer Exploration has successfully demonstrated the processing of graphite material from its wholly owned Campoona deposit into a spherical graphite product.

Spherical graphite materials represent a high-value materials entry point for high-volume anode componentry used specifically in the global lithium-ion battery market that is forecast to grow to US$130 ($184) billion by 2028 with growth concentrated in the Asia Pacific region. 

The production of high-value commodities for high-volume use downstream in the lithium-ion battery market directly aligns to the strategic focus of the company in commercially exploiting a potential source of long-term revenue through vertical integration of the critical mineral value-chain.

“This was a critical milestone that was achieved, and by doing so, we have overcome a high barrier to entry to the lithium ion battery market,” Archer CEO Dr Mohammad Choucair said.

“We still have the question of yield, which determines product viability, however this is a matter of scale and process optimisation. Intrinsically, our material is of excellent quality, and suitable for processing into high-value anode materials.”

The processing was performed by a Japanese company using proprietary technology it had developed. The results were verified by Archer using microscopy and analysis facilities at the University of Sydney. Archer and the Japanese company intend to progress the work in the near term by focusing on scaling quantities of graphite to accurately obtain and optimise measures of yield and efficiencies of scale for Archer’s Campoona graphite feedstocks.

“It is interesting that we were able to convert the 95% float product into a high-quality spherical graphite,” Dr Choucair said.

“This may allow us to segment the purification and material production processes into more efficient stages of development directly relevant to end-users and capitalise on opportunities to capture value-add abroad in the supply chain. This is an example of the pragmatic approach we are taking to developing Campoona.” 

Archer will test the purification of the post-processed materials and their suitability for integration in full- and half-cell lithium-ion batteries to enable the downstream screening and qualification of potential off-take partners and end users.