JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – London-listed Beowulf Mining will restart drilling at its graphite project in Finland in March, as it steps up work to achieve a target of having a graphite asset in production in the next two to three years.
The company’s current focus is the Aitolampi project, about 40 km south-west of the well-established mining town of Outokumpu.
Recent metallurgical test results have delivered positive results, with advanced testwork by ProGraphite, in Germany, showing that both acid and alkaline purification methods could produce a clean concentrate of greater than 99.41% total carbon.
The alkaline method, using standard formulation, produced the highest grades, 99.82% for the -100-mesh concentrate, and 99.8% for the +100-mesh concentrate.
Results obtained from acid purification reached 99.6% for the +100-mesh fraction.
Beowuf said that the alkaline and acid purification results indicated that, with some process optimisation, Aitolampi concentrates might meet the purity specification of 99.95% required for the lithium-ion battery market.
CEO Kurt Budge said that the initial focus of the company was to sell its graphite into non-battery markets, owing to the time taken to satisfy battery manufacturer’s quality requirements. “However, the battery market has the potential to provide real upside for the company as development and production progresses,” he added.
The drilling planned for March will focus on conducting more testwork and will seek to estimate a maiden resource, after which a scoping study will be initiated.
In March last year, the company completed an eight-hole, 1 197 m diamond drilling programme.