One process yielded 99.7% C while another different and cheaper process yielded an exceptional purity of 99.96% C. This is further confirmation of earlier mineralogical studies that showed the Albany 'vein-type' graphite material to be of high quality and containing minor amounts of impurities. The ability to produce a natural graphite product equivalent in purity to the highest grade synthetic graphite using low-cost conventional processing techniques will allow Zenyatta to target the growing market in high value-added graphite applications.
Aubrey Eveleigh, President and CEO stated, "Achieving these ultra-high purity carbon values at such an early stage from a simple and relatively inexpensive process is truly remarkable. This large 'vein-type' graphite deposit appears to be 'one of a kind' globally in both size and quality." Eveleigh also stated, "With accelerated global interest in the Albany graphite deposit, Zenyatta will continue to discuss the merits of the project with potential strategic partners, including graphite end-users."
Natural graphite material has varying levels of quality depending on the type (vein, flake or amorphous). The degree of purity can vary greatly, which heavily influences the use of the material in applications and its pricing. Carbon purity of natural graphite can generally range from 70.0% all the way to 99.0%, whereas synthetic graphite is usually greater than 99.0%. Given the ultra-high purity at Zenyatta's Albany project, the Company will be positioning the material to compete in the $13 billion (1.5 million tonnes annually) synthetic market.
Synthetic graphite is significantly more expensive to make but commands the highest market prices due to its purity. It can cost $4000 - $5000 per tonne (99.5% purity) to produce but can be sold for $7000 - $9000 per tonne. Ultra-high purity (99.9%) graphite can demand a price of $20,000 - $30,000 per tonne. Processing and purification of natural graphite has improved greatly in recent years and projects with initial high purity graphite, like the Albany vein-type, require less purification and therefore lower cost to produce.