Sarytogan “going nuclear” with Kazakhstan-sourced graphite purified beyond “five nines” level

Sarytogan “going nuclear” with Kazakhstan-sourced graphite purified beyond “five nines” level
The deposit was first explored during the Soviet era in the 1980s. Sarytogan subsidiary Ushtogan resumed exploration in 2018. / Sarytogan Graphite, ASX announcement
By bne IntelliNews March 6, 2024

ASX-listed Sarytogan Graphite has purified graphite sourced from Kazakhstan beyond the coveted “five nines” level, meaning the product is expected to be suitable for the nuclear industry at super-premium prices, the company has announced in a stock market announcement.

At 99.9992% carbon, an assayed 2.2-kilogram sample of bulk flotation concentrate from the company’s namesake project in Kazakhstan, was assessed as “more than 50 times purer than battery specification”, Sarytogan added.

The enterprise's shares surged more than 23% following the announcement.

Sean Gregory, managing director of Sarytogan Graphite, said: “Sarytogan Five Nines Graphite broadens the product offering from Sarytogan, from industrial uses to advanced battery applications and now a range of nuclear uses.” He added: “The prefeasibility study is continuing to advance on schedule, and we expect to be able to quantify the economics associated with taking our giant and exceptionally high-grade deposit into the premium battery anode market and now super-premium nuclear industry market.”

Graphite has always been an indispensable part of the nuclear fission reactor since its invention in the late 1930s, with its primary use being as the moderator surrounding the uranium fuel rods to bounce escaping neutrons back to the uranium to moderate the release of energy, Sarytogan explained.

Management highlighted that the 2.2kg sample was assayed at 0.032 parts per million boran, which is well below the maximum nuclear specification of 2ppm.

In late 2023, the company produced its first spheroidized graphite, which is the final flowsheet element needed to produce uncoated spherical purified graphite (USPG) and ultra-high purity fines (UHPF) for use in lithium-ion batteries and other related markets. Currently, it is continuing to test lithium-ion batteries made with its coated spherical purified graphite (CSPG).