First graphite plant commissioned

02 January 2019 | Business

Namibia's first graphite processing plant was recently commissioned by Next Graphite.

The plant was constructed between December 2017 and March 2018.

The plant quickly achieved optimisation, with 2.5 tonnes of graphite concentrate being shipped to Perpetuus Carbon Technologies for the manufacture of graphene, which will be used in the vehicle and bicycle tyre industries.

Next Graphite's joint-venture partner, Gratomic Incorporated, is currently collaborating with Perpetuus to build on the latter's capability to initially provide approximately 550 tonnes of surface-modified graphene per year to support the volumes required by the tyre-manufacturing industry, its CEO Cliff Bream explained.

“Once the market has been established, Perpetuus states that it has the capability to elevate capacity to thousands of tonnes per annum of graphite,” Bream added.

According to him, the Aukam processing plant uses a simple crushing, grinding and flotation system, with a current capacity of 650 tonnes per year.

“Construction is already under way for the installation of a larger mill with an 11 000-tonne per annum capacity,” Bream said.

“The successful start-up of our Aukam processing plant is a major milestone for the company, one that allows our JV partner to begin feeding concentrate to Perpetuus for the manufacturing of graphene for use as a material-enhancing filler within tyre elastomers,” he added.

Almost all of the processing plant's components have been acquired from South Africa and Namibia, which simplifies the procurement significantly from other options in China and Sri Lanka.

Next Graphite's lump graphite is a preferred source of graphite for many end-users.

It has unique characteristics suitable for use in 20 important value-added applications, particularly electric foils.

It is also used in crucibles, brake pads, electrodes, refractories, lubricants, electric car lithium-ion batteries and nuclear reactors.

OGONE TLHAGE

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