- Sampling returns significant assays of gallium in drilling at Leliyn graphite project
- Gallium is a critical metal used in semiconductors subject to export controls by major producer China
- Upcoming graphite testwork will also determine if gallium is recovered by flotation
Significant levels of gallium are present at Kingsland’s Leliyn graphite discovery, which could represent a lucrative by-product that improves the project’s economics.
The Leliyn project in the Northern Territory hosts a conceptual Exploration Target of between 200Mt and 250Mt grading 8% to 11% total graphitic carbon (TGC) based on a graphitic schist measuring 5km long, 200m deep and 100m wide.
This 5km section sits within a longer 20km-long graphitic schist, which reveals the size of the prize for Kingsland.
Kingsland Minerals’ (ASX:KNG) resource drilling, which recently returned bonanza intersections such as 206m grading 10% graphite, has also proved the potential scale and grade potential of the discovery.
Adding further interest, initial petrographic analysis has indicated that not only is flake graphite widespread across the project, the flakes are less than 150 micron in size, which are ideal for processing into spherical graphite for use in battery anodes as larger flakes require size reduction that increases costs.
These are all promising signs that the company has the right project to meet growing demand for lithium-ion battery anodes as the uptake of electric vehicles and grid storage continues to accelerate.
Gallium upside, anyone?
If this wasn’t enough, samples taken from drilling have now returned assays containing significant levels of gallium, a critical element used in advanced electronics.
Notable intersections include:
- 266m at 15 grams per tonne (g/t) gallium from surface;
- 204m at 15.8g/t gallium from surface;
- 150m at 18.9g/t gallium from surface; and
- 150m at 21.1g/t gallium from surface.
This has the potential to significantly improve the economics of any future Leliyn development.
Countries around the world are scrambling to secure supplies of the metal that is used in semiconductor chips after China – the biggest producer for both gallium and germanium – introduced export controls for “national security”.
Whilst making up a relatively small part of the drill intercepts, gallium does command a price of more than $700/kg, which makes it a potentially viable by-product.
“The discovery of significant gallium at Leliyn is potentially very significant,” managing director Richard Maddocks said.
“Gallium is a critical element and may provide a potentially valuable by-product from the development of the Leliyn graphite project.
“Our prime focus remains graphite, but we will include gallium in the upcoming metallurgical test-work to begin to assess the viability of extracting it from the graphitic schist.”
The company recently submitted a 100kg sample for graphite metallurgical testwork with a focus on flotation characteristics of the graphite.
This sample will also be assayed to determine whether the gallium reports to the flotation process.
This article was developed in collaboration with Kingsland Minerals, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.
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