Sovereign Metals has announced the commencement of a bulk sampling program at its Kasiya rutile-graphite project in Malawi. The program aims to extract over 100 metric tons of ore, marking an important milestone for the company.
Positive Market Response
Following the news, shares in Sovereign Metals experienced a significant rise. At 0906 GMT, the London-listed miner saw a 2.0 pence increase, or 8.5%, bringing the share price to 25.5 pence.
Graphite Qualification Program
The ongoing sampling operation is part of Sovereign Metals’ graphite qualification program. This initiative is expected to yield more than 1,000 kilograms of natural graphite, which will be utilized for lithium-ion battery anode testwork and product qualification.
Collaboration with Rio Tinto
Sovereign Metals is collaborating with Rio Tinto, its strategic partner, on this upscaled graphite qualification program. In July, Rio Tinto invested AUD 40.4 million in Sovereign, acquiring a 15% stake in the company. The collaboration will help both companies ensure the graphite’s quality and enhance its marketability.
High-quality Graphite with Favorable Attributes
Previous testwork has confirmed that graphite sourced from the Kasiya project holds exceptional attributes, including near perfect crystallinity and high purity. These qualities make it a suitable material for lithium-ion battery feedstock.
Exploiting China’s Graphite Export Restrictions
The timing of Sovereign’s upscaled graphite program is favorable. China has recently implemented restrictions on the export of natural graphite, further emphasizing the importance of developing and sourcing alternative suppliers.