After drill-confirming a mineralised strike extent exceeding 1880 metres, Buxton Resources have positioned its wholly owned Western Australian Graphite Bull project into what could be the most exciting project of its kind in the nation.
A brief scouting expedition drill program to test recently defined ground electromagnetic targets came home yesterday and returned with quarry far exceeding expectations, intersecting graphite mineralisation in all five holes and demonstrating the project was home to a much larger system than first believed as temperatures moved past 47 degrees in the Gascoyne.
And Graphite Bull already held reason for excitement, home to a four megatonne inferred JORC resource at 16.2 per cent total graphitic carbon — covering just 460 metres of what is now a massively expanded length of strike.
It was a crucial return, not only for Buxton, but potentially for the nation’s future production of critical battery metals.
While lithium is in the name, the ultimate prize is the lithium-ion battery itself, and analysts see it as increasingly probable it will be a shortfall of high-quality graphite to cause a bottleneck in production.
“The material that concerns me most is the anode,” UBS research analyst Tim Bush said in an August webinar on EV battery chemistries.
Graphite is an essential component of the anode and as investment pours into lithium stocks, a supply imbalance looms on the horizon.
“Graphite has kind of been the poor cousin of the battery minerals and doesn’t get the attention of the other commodities,” Northern Graphite Corporation executive chairman Gregory Bowes told Supply Chain Dive.
“But we are getting very close to an inflection point where demand overtakes supply, and this is going to be first page news.”
Data from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence has also demonstrated that the world requires more graphite mines than lithium mines to meet forecast demand and there is a stark lack of production, particularly for natural flake graphite, outside of Chinese borders.
As it stands, Australia has just solitary graphite mine in production, a fact now liable for change as Buxton build a Graphite Bull and exploration fires up in the Gascoyne.