Lincoln Minerals has received the first of two key approvals for a $40m graphite mine approximately 30km north of Port Lincoln in South Australia. The project sets up the Eyre Peninsula to become the nation's leading source for graphite.
The Eyre Peninsula is a triangular peninsula in South Australia. It is bounded on the east by Spencer Gulf, the west by the Great Australian Bight, and the north by the Gawler Ranges.
The 'Kookaburra Gully Project' will include an open-cut mine and a processing plant, with an annual production of about 30,000–50,000 tonnes of graphite concentrate per year.
Lincoln Minerals expects to employ an initial 60 people during the mine construction and 30 people during the seven-plus years of the project's life.
Lincoln Minerals Managing Director, Dr John Parker holds a chunk of graphite. Source: ABC News
Managing Director, Dr John Parker, expects to the growth in demand for graphite seen in recent years to continue, given that graphite is vital to the expansion of the growing renewable energy industry.
Graphite is used in lithium ion batteries for domestic renewable power supplies, has proven to be more efficient in electric car batteries, and is poised for use in storage systems for solar-powered homes.
Dr Parker said that the mine's graphite could eventually be used for a $1.2b solar energy power plant at Port Augusta, planned by Solarstor. The proposal calls for 17,000 tonnes of graphite blocks and the Kookaburra Gully Project would allow the use of purified graphite for the graphite blocks, instead of synthetic graphite.
The next step in the project is the preparation of a detailed operating plan for the mine, known as a Program for Environment Protection and Rehabilitation (PEPR).
Stay tuned to find out how the second stage of the two-step mining approval goes.