This information has not been updated since 2013 and is provided for general reference purposes. For the latest data, please see Australia's Identified Mineral Resources 2016.
Graphite is a soft, black, lustrous mineral composed of carbon in hexagonal crystalline form. Graphite is found in three different forms; in high-grade metamorphic rocks as disseminated crystal flakes, in vein or fractures as vein graphite or in thermally metamorphosed coal deposits as amorphous graphite.Graphite is a good electrical conductor and has good lubricating properties. Graphite is used as an anode in batteries. Graphite has a high fusion point and is used in industry producing molten metal in refractories, crucibles and blast furnace linings. Graphite is being used to replace asbestos in brake shoes for heavier vehicles. Graphite is used in pencils.
Australia’s Economic Demonstrated Resources (EDR) are estimated to be 969.59 kilotonnes (kt) of graphite in 2013, compared to 589 kt in 2012. All Australia’s EDR of graphite is located in South Australia (792.81 kt) and Western Australia (176.77 kt). The South Australian EDR is in the deposits of Campoona Shaft, Kookaburra Gully and Uley. Western Australia’s McIntosh deposit accounts for all of that State’s ERD.Inferred resources of Graphite totalled 1078.73 kt, an increase from the 299 kt in 2012. The South Australian Inferred Resource totals 994.13 kt and are associated with the deposits of Campoona Shaft, Kookaburra Gully, Koppio Graphite Mine, Uley and Wilco South. The Inferred Resource in Western Australian is within the McIntosh deposit and totals 84.6 kt.
With demand for graphite rising there has been an increase in graphite exploration projects in Australia during 2013. There has been renewed interest in the metamorphosed Palaeoproterozoic Hutchison Group rocks in the Eyre Peninsula region of South Australia. There has been some interest also in graphite projects in the New England fold belt region of New South Wales with Zimtu Capital Corporation exploring several grass root tenements. In Western Australia, Lamboo Resources Limited is carrying out a pre-feasibility study for its proposed McIntosh project.
In 2013 there were no operating graphite mines in Australia. The last production of graphite in Australia was in 1993 when the Uley graphite mine produced 1025 tonnes. The mine was placed on care and maintenance in the same year because of a sharp fall in graphite prices.
According to United States Geological Survey (USGS), the world production of natural graphite in 2012 was 1100 kt. The major producers of graphite were: China (750 kt), India (150 kt), Brazil (75 kt), North Korea (30 kt) and Canada (26 kt). The largest reserves of graphite are found in China 55 000 kt, India 11 000 kt and Mexico 3100 kt.
Archer Exploration Ltd announced that reverse circulation (RC) drilling at Campoona Central on Eyre Peninsula in South Australia has confirmed the presence of graphite similar to the highly graphitic schist at Campoona Shaft and at widths amenable to mining. The company drilled 42 holes for a total of 1937 metres with an average depth of approximately 45 metres. Drill results include 34 metres at 10.7% total graphitic carbon (TGC) and 25 metres at 12.6% TGC.
Lincoln Minerals Ltd announced a Maiden Resource of 2.25 Million tonnes grading 15.0% TGC with 338 kt of contained graphite at a nominal cut-off grade of 5% TGC for its Kookaburra Gully project in South Australia.
Monax Mining Ltd undertook exploration on its Waddikee Graphite project on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. The exploration program comprised 77 RC drill holes totalling 7307 metres at the company’s Wilclo South prospect. The drilling program was designed to test a 1.2 kilometre strike zone to 120 metres depth for an initial resource definition. Significant results include 12 metres at 17.5% TGC and 15 metres at 16.3% TGC.
Lamboo Resources Ltd reported on a 4292 metre RC drilling program at the McIntosh project which identified that mineralisation at Target 1 extends over a strike length of 2500 metres and a width of 40 metres. Additional course flake mineralisation occurs at Targets 5 and 6 with strike lengths of 2700 metres, both of which open along strike and at depth. Results include 27 metres at 5.49% TGC, 14 metres at 4.87% TGC and 66 metres at 4.04% TGC from 38 metres.
Strategic Graphite Ltd is looking to fast track re-commencement of operations at its Uley graphite mine on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. The company is developing plans for a capital raising with the proceeds directed towards restarting operations from its high-grade flake graphite product lines at the Uley project. The Uley plant is capable of producing up to 14 kt of graphite a year. The 20 tonnes an hour processing plant, requires some refurbishment and supplementary equipment, but is substantially intact and able to operate.
McKay, A.D., Miezitis, Y., Porritt, K., Britt, A.F., Champion, D.C., Cadman, S., Towner, R., Summerfield, D., Whitaker, A., Huston, D., Jaireth, S., Sexton, M., Schofield, A., Hoatson, D., Senior, A.B. & Carson, L., 2014. Australia's Identified Mineral Resources 2013. Geoscience Australia, Canberra, Australia. http://dx.doi.org/10.11636/1327-1466.2013