South Star Battery Metals Announces Successful Results from Ongoing Cycle and Value-Add Testing Program; Strengthening of Senior Management Team and Board Changes
22 Sep, 2021, 07:27 ET
VANCOUVER, BC, Sept. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ - South Star Battery Metals Corp. ("South Star" or the "Company") (TSXV: STS) (OTCQB: STSBF), along with its technological partner in the United States ("US Lab"1), are pleased to announce the latest life cycle testing results for the first 75 cycles (charging & discharging) in CR2016 LiB coin cells constructed with anode material (coated spherical purified graphite) produced from the Santa Cruz Graphite Project. Several battery cells were constructed as part of the ongoing optimization and testing program, and all the cells continue to have an extremely flat discharge pattern without noticeable degradation over the current testing period.
One cycle consists of 10 hours of charge and 10 hours of discharge, therefore 75 cycles equals approximately 1,500 hours total. South Star's testing program continues and will include a minimum of 100 cycles for each of the LiB cells. Upcoming work also includes downstream processing flowsheet optimizations and validation. (Refer to August 30th, 2021 press release for results from initial 35 cycles.)
In addition, South Star has successfully completed 4-Point resistivity testing (4T) for use in Electrolytic Manganese Dioxide (EMD) for evaluating conductivity enhancement material used in cathodes of primary alkaline batteries. The Santa Cruz material tested was made of the purified graphite rejects from the spheronization process and confirmed that purified flake graphite from the Santa Cruz project is significantly more conductive than industry-leading material currently in use. With the alkaline battery market producing over 12 billion batteries annually and a global market value in excess of US$7.5B in 2020, this application could potentially develop into a key market for South Star.
"We continue to announce robust battery testing results while advancing towards production in 2022," commented Richard Pearce, President and CEO of South Star. "The cycle testing with anodes produced using Santa Cruz graphite in CR2016 LiB batteries continues to be very stable with little degradation throughout 75 cycles and maintaining reversible capacity on the order of 345 – 346 mAh/g through cycle 75. This equates to a degradation through 75 cycles of approximately 2 percent, which is an excellent outcome for our program.
The high-quality conductivity enhancement material for alkaline batteries markets is also very exciting. In essence, our purified graphite is extremely conductive allowing alkaline battery manufacturers to potentially reduce the required amount of graphite used as conductivity enhancement material in the cathode and instead increase the energy density to make a longer-lasting alkaline cell. The market is large and growing, and our material has proven to be very high-quality. It also requires approximately 8 to 9 months to qualify this material, which is significantly faster than in the EV markets while offering robust margins similar to the EV space. We continue to evaluate several potential markets to sell 100% of our production and develop a diversified portfolio of high value-add materials with good margins."
Santa Cruz Product Information Bulletins (PIBs) with technical information for the portfolio of products, safety data sheets (SDSs) and marketing materials have been prepared and are being distributed to our existing partners and potential clients. Samples of value-add products including micronized & purified graphite, expanded & expandable graphite, as well are as coated and uncoated SPG will also be produced and available for testing.
Key Management and Board Changes
South Star is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Samantha Shorter to the role of CFO in place of Mr. Bennett Liu, who has resigned to pursue other opportunities. Ms. Shorter is a senior finance and accounting professional with 15 years of experience in the mineral exploration sector and has served as CFO of various junior mining companies. She has extensive international experience with development projects as well as operating assets. Ms. Shorter was also previously employed as an audit manager at a major Canadian accounting firm specializing in the mining industry and has extensive experience providing financial reporting and corporate services to companies in the mining and mineral exploration industries. Ms. Shorter is a CPA, CA and CIA and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree with Honours from the University of British Columbia.
South Star is also pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Priscila Costa Lima to the Board of Directors in place of Mr. Felipe Alves, who has elected to step down to pursue other interests. Ms. Costa Lima is senior finance and accounting professional with 20 years of experience in corporate finance, reporting & audit, and equity & debt financing in the mining and entertainment sectors. Currently she serves as the CFO of BRON Media Corp., and prior to that, she was the Finance Director for Force Four Entertainment (an eOne Entertainment company). Before making the move to the entertainment industry, she worked in the mining / resource sector where she served as the CFO of Marlin Gold Mining Ltd. from 2010 to 2014. Ms. Costa Lima is a Brazilian citizen based in Vancouver, BC. She is a CPA, CMA and holds a BBA in Finance with a joint Major in Economics from Simon Fraser University.
Richard Pearce commented, "On behalf of the Board of Directors and Management, we are pleased to welcome Sam and Priscila to the team and look forward to working with them as we advance to construction, Phase 1 production and subsequent scaling of the operations to a world-class graphite asset. We are excited to add their experience and expertise to our growing team, and they will be key collaborators as we move forward with our plans. We would like to also to thank Felipe and Bennett for their contributions and tireless work ethics over the years. We wish them much success in their new endeavours."
Lithium-Ion Battery Life Cycle Test Results
Purified graphite was successfully micronized using advanced pilot scale mechanical milling system outfitted with two air classification circuits. Once the target sizing geometries were achieved, uncoated SPG was produced by rolling and rounding the micronized graphite into elliptical spheres in a specialized mill. The elliptical shapes are a preferred morphology for higher packing density active loadings in battery electrodes. They are also preferred due to better rate capacities, safer and generally longer-life LiBs. Uncoated SPG was coated with a nanolayer of soft carbon and heat treated under a blanket of inert gas. The hardened coating provides a layer of protection from exfoliation and general degradation during the normal expansion and contraction cycles associated with charging and discharging. The coating also reduces ongoing reactions of electrolytes with the graphitic carbon, which results in a reduced battery life (See June 29th, 2021 press release for more details).
Next, a copper foil was coated with the anode slurry using the drawdown technique, and the electrode was dried under vacuum and weighed. Finally, the anode was welded to the bottom can of a stainless-steel standard CR2016 coin cell. Three identical coin cells were produced, and testing includes the following: reversible capacity, irreversible capacity, irreversible capacity loss and long-term cycling stability as a function of the elapsed number of charge/discharge cycles.
As shown in Figure 1, other notable positive properties of Santa Cruz anode material are that their reversible capacities are at approximately 345 mAh/g thru 75 cycles, which is a degradation of 2 percent. Assuming the current degradation rate continues, Santa Cruz graphite could potentially exceed 500 cycles prior to performance cut-off and potentially provide an interesting alternative to synthetic graphite, which has significantly higher costs, higher environmental footprint and is a product derived from petroleum.
Figure 2 presents the results for Cell 3 through cycles 25, 50 and 75 and confirm that the cells maintain excellent electrochemical performance throughout the current testing attesting to the robust nature of the Santa Cruz natural crystalline flake characteristics as anode material for lithium-ion batteries.
Conductivity Enhancement Material for Alkaline Battery Cathodes Test Results
South Star successfully completed 4-Point resistivity testing for Electrolytic Manganese Dioxide (EMD) for evaluating conductivity enhancement material used in cathodes for primary alkaline batteries. The Santa Cruz material tested was made of the purified graphite rejects from the spheronization process with a D50 equal to 7 microns. Compression molded cathode rings made from EMD using Santa Cruz graphite were produced using varying loadings into the EMD. The resistivity was tested using an industry standard 4-point (4T) test where resistivity is determined by Kelvin Bridge and is measured in Ω inch or mΩ·cm. Various pressures were tested to determine the resulting resistivity. The results are presented in Figure 3 and confirm that conductivity enhancement material made from Santa Cruz purified graphite outperformed industry standard expanded graphite and synthetic graphite products. Potentially, purified rejects from the spheronization process could provide lower cost and higher quality alternatives to current industry standard products.
About South Star Battery Metals Corp.
South Star Battery Metals Corp. is Canadian battery metals project developer focused on the selective acquisition and development of near-term production projects in the Americas. South Star's Santa Cruz Graphite Project, located in Southern Bahia, Brazil is the first of a series of industrial and battery metals projects that will be put into production. Brazil is the second-largest graphite-producing region in the world with more than 80 years of continuous mining. Santa Cruz has at-surface mineralization in friable materials, and successful large-scale pilot-plant testing (>30t) has been completed. The results of the testing show that approximately 65% of Cg concentrate is +80 mesh with good recoveries and 95-99% Cg. With excellent infrastructure and logistics, South Star is carrying its development plan towards Phase 1 production projected in Q4 2022, pending financing. South Star trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol STS, and on the OTCQB under the symbol STSBF.
South Star is committed to a corporate culture, project execution plan and safe operations that embrace the highest standards of ESG principles based on transparency, stakeholder engagement, ongoing education and stewardship. To learn more, please visit the Company website at http://www.southstarbatterymetals.com.
This news release has been reviewed and approved by Richard Pearce, P.E., a "Qualified Person" under National Instrument 43-101 and President and CEO of South Star Battery Metals.
On behalf of the Board,
Mr. Richard Pearce
Chief Executive Officer
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SOURCE South Star Mining Corp.
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