Our focus is on the exploration and development of our assets across our cobalt, lithium and graphite projects in North America and South Korea. We continue to assess additional land opportunities in North America.
Graphite Exploration Program
Graphite Mineral Exploration Program
Demand for natural flake graphite (NFG) has been growing steadily over the past few decades because of the demand for lithium ion batteries, which are used in electronics such as tablets, laptops and smartphones as well as in electric cars. The battery in a fully-electric car can contain as much of 40 kg of graphite, not to mention the proliferation of mobile devices that use Li-ion batteries -- so the demand for the graphite mineral is already high and will likely keep growing as the world transitions to clean energy sources.
The spherical graphite, or SPG, that is used in the anodes of lithium ion batteries (LiB) can come from either synthetic or natural sources. Synthetic graphite is made by combining petroleum coke with coal tar pitch, which serves as a binder, and then extruding and shaping the resulting mixture. The mixture is baked to the point that the coal tar pitch is carbonized. Then the mixture is “graphitized” by heating it to extremely high temperatures -- as high as 3,000 degrees Celsius -- until the carbon atoms arrange to form graphite.
Natural flake graphite is also shaped into spherical graphite particles in order to maximize the charging and recharging capacity of the batteries they are used in. However, with natural flake graphite, fewer steps are required. Thus, less time and money go into creating SPG from natural flake graphite.
Since the process of creating synthetic graphite is more time-consuming and costly than using the natural flake graphite mineral, there is clear motivation to use NFG in the creation of lithium ion batteries instead of its synthetically produced counterpart. Battery Mineral Resources is leading the way by seeking out natural graphite sources that will allow our customers to keep their costs down when producing lithium ion batteries.
BMR has 100% ownership of two graphite exploration projects containing high-purity flake graphite deposits. Although graphite occurs most commonly in metamorphic rocks, deposits of graphite mineral can also be found in igneous rocks. BMR has a high level of knowledge about how this mineral forms and where to find graphite sheets.
In addition, both of our natural flake graphite exploration projects in South Korea, Geumam and Taehwa, have previous mine operations and existing local infrastructure in place creating the potential for near-term production.
A distinct advantage of our graphite projects in Korea is their proximity to established battery industries in Asia. We own the largest footprint of graphite in the country.
With both the knowledge and expertise to seek out and procure natural flake graphite, and the physical means to do so, BMR is very well positioned to provide a more cost-effective alternative to synthetic graphite for the production of lithium ion batteries.