Elcora Advanced Materials Corp, Northern Graphite Corporation, Nouveau Monde Mining Enterprises Inc., Metals of Africa Limited, Coulometrics LLC and a private industry partner are pleased to announce that they are jointly acquiring a micronizing and spheronizing mill to produce spherical graphite, a critical step in the production of anode material used in lithium ion batteries.
The mill will be added to Coulometrics' battery production and test facility. Considerable work has already been completed by Coulometrics to produce SPG and to evaluate many different suppliers of spheronizing equipment. Northern Graphite has financially supported most of this work and has agreed to share its current knowledge on spheronizing with the other participating companies. All of the participating companies will share in any spheronizing technologies that are developed going forward. The spheronizing equipment will be used to evaluate and optimize the yield of SPG from various graphite mine concentrates and to develop next generation and high-yield spheronization technology to meet the demanding cost targets for automotive LIB applications. Ultimately, the goal of all the parties is to achieve full qualification of their materials by LIB manufacturing companies.
The development and testing process will be lead by Dr. Edward Buiel who commented: "The addition of the spheronizing equipment will enable us to produce and test Coated Spherical Purified Graphite "C-SPG" from end to end within North America. This will rapidly advance our C-SPG development efforts and we believe it is the first real effort by junior graphite companies to address the needs of the LIB industry. It also demonstrates the commitment of those involved to develop next generation, high performance anode materials for LIBs which will provide a significant cost advantage and a greatly reduced environmental impact. They will also represent a major improvement over methods currently employed in China."
Coulometrics is a leading provider of energy storage consulting services and advanced battery component manufacturing services. Dr. Edward Buiel, owner of Coulometrics, has a Ph. D. in Physics and 20 years of experience developing carbon-based materials for lithium ion batteries and supercapacitors. Coulometrics has a unique combination of expertise that includes graphite processing for lithium ion batteries and full cell electrode coating, calendaring, cell assembly, and testing.
Elcora was founded in 2011 and has been structured to become a vertically integrated graphite & graphene company that mines, processes, refines graphite, and produces both the graphene and end graphene applications. As part of the vertical integration strategy, Elcora has secured high-grade graphene precursor graphite from its interest in the operation of the Ragedara mine in Sri Lanka. Elcora has developed a unique low cost effective process to make graphene that is commercially scalable. This combination means that Elcora has the tools and resources for graphene vertical integration. Ian Flint, Ph.D., P. Geo., is the Qualified Person as defined under NI 43-101 who has reviewed and is responsible for the Elcora technical information presented in this news release.
Northern's Bissett Creek graphite deposit is an advanced, pre-development stage project that has a Feasibility Study and its major environmental permit. Subject to the completion of operational and species at risk permitting, which are at an advanced stage, Northern is in a position to commence construction in 2016 subject to the availability of financing. The Bissett Creek project is located close to infrastructure in eastern Canada, has the highest reported percentage of large/XL/XXL flake, and a reasonable capital cost.
Nouveau Monde owns the Matawinie graphite project on which the company delineated, in February 2016, a graphite resource estimate totaling 48.6 Mt at a grade of 3.97 % Cg in the Indicated Category and 34.7 Mt at a grade of 4.08 % Cg in the Inferred Category. The project is located in the Saint-Michel-des-Saints area, some 130 km north of Montreal, Quebec, Canada with direct access to all needed infrastructure, labor and green and affordable hydroelectricity. Nouveau Monde is developing its project with the highest corporate social responsibility standards and the lowest environmental footprint (targeting a net zero carbon emission operation). A 43-101 Preliminary Economical Assessment will be delivered around the end of Q2 2016.
The technical content of this press release was reviewed by Eric Desaulniers, M.Sc., P.Geo., a Qualified Person under NI 43-101 guidelines, except for information with respect to Elcora and MTA.