Friday, August 26, 2016
The last two posts touched on the economic case for resource developers to refine graphite materials before going to market - “Dissension Discount on Focus Graphite” and “AlabamaGraphite: Proof in Pudding”. ‘Micronization’ and ‘spheroidization’ are names applied to secondary processing steps to turn out spherical graphite suitable for use in lithium ion batteries. Spherical graphite materials command higher selling prices and potentially offer producers higher returns on capital investment. As noted in the comments on Focus Graphite, the production of spherical graphite is as much art as science, requiring specialized knowledge. Engineers with the right experience are bound to be in high demand. Indeed, two graphite developers in Canada even landed in court in a dispute over personnel.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Last month Alabama Graphite Corporation (ALP: TSX-V or ABGPF: OTC/QB) announced receipt of a half dozen non-disclosure agreements by lithium ion battery manufacturers which are testing the company’s ‘coated spherical graphite’ materials. The battery makers are ostensibly approved suppliers for the U.S. Department of Defense, which is particularly keen on sourcing critical materials from U.S. suppliers. Alabama Graphite (AGC) owns two of the most significant commercially viable graphite sources in the continental U.S.
Friday, August 19, 2016
Earlier this week Focus Graphite, Inc. (FMS: TSX-V or FCSMF: OTC/QB) announced results from recent drilling tests at its Lac Tétépisca graphite project in northeastern Québec. The drilling indicated a significant graphite zone 60 to 100 meters wide and extending down from a main graphite corridor that is 600 meters in length. The company has been working on this area since 2012, in hopes of adding to its adjacent Lac Knife graphite resource.
A feasibility study published in August 2014 indicated potential for 7.86 million metric tons of proven and probable graphite mineral reserves in the Lac Knife project. Focus Graphite had previously tested spherical graphite made from Lac Knife ore concentrate in battery coin cell tests. Management has since touted the natural flake graphite at Lac Knife as highly marketable for use in lithium ion battery anodes.
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
A series on graphite resource development must include Zenyatta Ventures Ltd. (ZEN: TSX-V), which has zeroed in on a graphite deposit in northern Ontario Province. Called the Albany Graphite Deposit, the resource is unusual in its volcanic origins. A preliminary economic assessment was published in January 2014, citing 25.1 million metric tons of graphite resource with another 20.1 million metric tons inferred.
Early tests suggest the graphite is quite high in purity and is particularly suitable to the company’s proprietary concentration process. Zenyatta plans to deploy a process using sodium hydroxide instead of environmentally unfriendly acids. Bench tests using this purification method on graphite from the Albany deposit have achieved carbon purity as high as 99.9%.