South Australia on track for two new-era graphite mines

The owners of two of South Australia’s newest graphite mining projects are moving forward with plans to open mines over the next two years.

Lincoln Materials plans for to begin construction on its graphite mine on the Eyre Peninsula by the end of 2017.

The mining company has begun laboratory testing of samples from its planned Kookaburra Gully project.

Bulk samples as large as five tonnes will be analysed by experts in China, the world’s largest producer of graphite.

Lincoln’s Managing Director Dr John Parker said the Kookaburra Gully mine represented Australia’s highest-grade flake graphite deposit, used in a variety of graphite-based products.

“About 50 to 60 per cent of spherical graphite produced globally currently comes from natural flake graphite,” he said.

Graphite has seen a resurgence in price in recent times due to increased demand from applications such as lithium-ion battery technology for electric cars and the novel substance graphene.

It is also at the forefront of the growing global green energy market, with a proposed solar thermal power station 250km north of Lincoln Materials’ Kookaburra Gully project estimated to require over 17,000 tonnes of graphite.

Archer Exploration Limited has lodged a formal mining lease for the Campoona Shaft graphite deposit, also on the Eyre Peninsula.

The application comes after a scoping study last month concluded the Campoona Shaft deposit’s total revenue was estimated at AU$858 million over 17 years.

Archer Executive Chairman Greg English said the lodging of a formal lease represented the end of a comprehensive approval process.

“Over the past three years, Archer has actively engaged in a community consultation process and completed a series of comprehensive reports and studies that support the application,” he said.

“The application for a Mining Lease at Campoona Shaft is a very significant milestone for Archer.”

This article originally appeared on The Lead South Australia.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.