Metals

South Star Battery Metals announces test drilling at Alabama graphite project

South Star Battery Metals has announced it will begin test drilling this month at its Alabama graphite project. Graphite is an essential material in electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

The company, based in British Columbia, Canada, has contracted another company for a “maiden diamond (DDH) drilling campaign” in the Ceylon Graphite Project in Coosa County. The Alabama project includes drilling 10-15 holes, logging and assays, testing water quality, monitoring groundwater levels and constructing and reclaiming drill pads.

“We are excited to get the maiden drilling campaign started in Alabama and test the extents of the mineralization,” South Star CEO Richard Pearce said in a news release. “This initial drilling campaign will be focused on testing limits and generating significant targets for the 2023 drilling campaign, which will ultimately result in a preliminary economic assessment.”

Pearce said the assessment will be completed by the fourth quarter of 2023.

South Star in December 2021 became partners with Hexagon Energy Materials Limited and U.S. Critical Minerals on the Ceylon Graphite Project. The project, a historic mine active during World Wars I and II, encompasses about 500 acres on the northeast end of the Alabama Graphite Belt.

The company in its release said, “South Star’s next project in the development pipeline is a project in Alabama located in the middle of a developing electric vehicle, aerospace and defense hub in the southeastern United States.”

South Star’s Alabama project is in the same county as a first-of-its-kind graphite processing plant being built by Westwater Resources and its subsidiary, Alabama Graphite Products. The $202 million plant in Kellyton will process raw graphite into refined graphite to use in batteries that power EVs, electronics and other products.

Demand for minerals such as lithium and graphite used in EV batteries will increase by as much as 4,000%, according to the U.S. government. The U.S. Department of Interior in 2018 included graphite in a list of 35 minerals “critical to U.S. national security and the economy.”

China controls the great majority of the graphite market.

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