Graphite from Triton Minerals’ Mozambique projects can be expanded up to 1,000 times. Expanded graphite that can be readily converted into a number of high value graphite products can sell for up to US$3,500 per tonne. Expanded graphite has unique physical and thermal properties and is readily converted into a number of high value graphite products. Subject to quality the expanded graphite sells for up to US$3,500 per tonne.
“These are very exciting results for Triton as not all graphite can be expanded,” managing director Brad Boyle said. “The unique physical and thermal properties of expanded graphite enjoys a continued strong market demand and a premium price is paid by end users. This style of graphite is readily converted into a number of graphite products, including graphite paper and graphite foil that is subsequently used in either high temperature applications or insulation for electronic devices. These results confirm the high quality nature, versatility and economic importance of TMG and Triton expects the expanded graphite will be used in many of the graphite sectors.”
Not all graphite is expandable. However, if the graphite possesses the required physical properties the graphite is normally expanded by immersing the natural flake graphite concentrate, usually at a grade of 95% to 99% TGC, in a bath of chromic acid, then concentrated sulfuric acid, which forces apart the crystal lattice planes, thus expanding or increasing the flake graphite surface area from 500 to 1,000 times in size. Expanded graphite is used to produce flexible graphite sheets and foils which are subsequently used for manufacturing high-performance gasket material for high-temperature use, packaging and other sealing materials in critical applications of high pressure environments.
It can also be used to create a compound to insulate molten metal in a ladle or red-hot steel ingots and decrease heat loss, or as a fire-stop which is fitted around a fire door or in sheet metal collars surrounding plastic pipe. After being made into graphite foil, the foil is machined and assembled into the bipolar plates in fuel cells. Graphite foil is also a major component of heat sinks for laptop computers which keeps them cool while saving weight. Graphite foil laminate is also used in valve packings or made into gaskets. Expanded graphite is an extremely valuable and highly sought after material and is a critical component in battery market. Research has found subject to the quality and thickness, the expanded graphite foil can sell for up to US$50,000 per tonne.
Graphite Expansion Tests
Testing by an independent facility located in Asia, on an unprocessed graphitic rock sample confirms that TMG has exceptional expandability properties with the surface area of the graphitic material being expanded up to 1,000 times.
Based on these encouraging results, Triton expects that once it has processed the TMG into a high grade concentrate of about 95% TGC, the surface area of the graphite material should increase to over 1,500 times in size, well above the graphite market average.
This is extremely bullish news for Triton’s Mozambique graphite and lifts the value of its project given demand for and differentiates its expanded graphite product in the market to end users. The results from the initial expansion tests have confirmed the high quality nature, expandability and market leading potential of Triton’s Mozambique graphite concentrate.
Demand for the expanded graphite material is expected to be high with new and commercially significant applications being found every day for this material. This will re-set Triton in the investment market as well as highlight the project’s attractiveness with financiers and potential product to end-users.