IM Graphite News in Brief 3 – 9 April

By Laura Syrett
Published: Thursday, 09 April 2015

AMG completes sale of GK stake while Kibaran retracts upgraded NPV and Grafoid buys rubber business.

EURONEXT-listed AMG Advanced Metallurgical Group NV has completed the sale of a 40% equity stake in AMG Graphite Kropfmuhl to an affiliate of Alterna Capital Partners.

The transaction was completed on 30 March. Germany-based AMG Graphite Kropfmuhl, known as GK Graphite, recently entered a strategic partnership with ASX-listed Triton Minerals Ltd through its subsidiary, GK Ancuabe Graphite Mine SA, to explore for graphite deposits in the Ancuabe region of Mozambique.

Australia-headquartered Kibaran Resources Ltd has retracted a statement relating to a 55% increase in the net present value (NPV) of its Epanko graphite project in Tanzania, which pegged the project at $396m.

The figure, released on 8 April, was based on calculations made by professional evaluation firm The CloudMiner Ltd and assumptions contained in an updated Epanko scoping study released in August last year.

The company issued an update today, however, saying that the revised sum "contained a significant formula error and hence overstated the Epanko project NPV".

"For avoidance of doubt, the company retracts all references to the NPV calculations made in yesterday’s announcement," Kibaran added.

"Based on current indications, which include a corrected re-calculation by CloudMiner utilising the updated Epanko scoping study and indicative terms proposed for the project (…) as announced on 27 March 2015, the company expects that the pre-tax project NPV of $213m (…) will improve in the coming [bankable feasibility study]," Kibaran said.

Also in Tanzania, fellow ASX-listed IMX Resources Ltd has released a maiden inferred mineral resource for the Shimba deposit at its Chilalo graphite project.

The inferred resource for Shimba stands at 7.4m tonnes graphite grading at 10.7% C, for 792,000 tonnes contained graphite within the sites high grade (>5% C) zone.

IMX said that over 90% of the mineral resource lies within 100 metres of surface and that there is significant potential to further increase the high grade resource base, as the Shimba deposit remains open to the northeast and southwest.

The company expects to begin a prefeasibility study at Chilalo this quarter and earlier this week raised Australian dollar (A$) 1.57m ($1.2m*) from a placement of 157m shares at a price of A$0.01/share to advance the project.

Elsewhere in Africa, TSX-V-listed DNI Metals Inc. has said that the results of further tests on grab samples recently collected at its Madagascan graphite property have indicated jumbo and large flake distribution of over 62.5%.

Grades for the samples range from 91.3% C for large flake to 97.9% C for jumbo flake. Small and medium flakes, which account for 37.5% of the deposit’s distribution, have grades ranging from 87.3-89% C.

DNI has also filed a notice with the TSX-V to complete a non-brokered private placement of up to 12.5m common shares at a price of Canadian dollar (C$) 0.16/share ($0.13/share) for gross proceeds of C$2m, to be used for corporate cash flow purposes.

In the US, A labama Graphite Corp . has received positive assay results from a trenching programme carried out at the Bama mine project in Chilton County, Alabama.

The trenching programme identified new targets with a number of sections averaging over 3% C, based on previously outlined airborne geophysical anomalies and targets from surface channel sampling.

Alabama Graphite also collected bulk samples from the property and is preparing composite samples to undertake metallurgical testing from some of the key trench intercepts.

TSX-V-listed Nouveau Monde Mining Enterprises has completed a short core drilling programme on its Matawinie graphite property, located approximately 140km north of Montreal in Quebec.

The campaign was designed to test both the extent at depth of graphite mineralisation discovered during ground prospecting in 2014 in the northern sector of the property, as well as a number of distinct conductors.

The programme consisted of seven boreholes totaling 675.7 metres, from which 135 split-core samples were collected and sent to the ALS Minerals’ laboratory in Val D'Or, Quebec, for graphite and multi-element analysis.

The results are expected by the end of April and will be used to plan the next development stage of the project.

Canada-listed Graphite One Resources Inc. has changed the name of its Alaska, US-based subsidiary company to Graphite One (Alaska) Inc. from Cedar Mountain Exploration (Alaska) Inc., effective immediately.

The company, which is developing the Graphite Creek graphite deposit on Alaska’s Seward Peninsula, also announced that its board of directors has approved an incentive stock option grant to its chief financial officer, Alan Ahlgren, for the purchase of 500,000 shares of Graphite One at an exercise price of C$0.13/share. All shares vest immediately and expire on 2 April 2020.

Big North Graphite Corp . has issued a corporate update stating that the company’s management and its consultants TetraTech have determined that one line of the El Tejon graphite mine and mill site in Mexico can be restarted in a six month period at a cost of approximately $2.5m.

The Vancouver, Canada-headquartered explorer said that a second processing line would be re-started in an orderly manner in line with initial operating experience.

"In recognition of the vital importance of offtake agreements in the industrial minerals industry, the company has initiated the process of securing such agreements," Big North said.

It added that a quantity of bagged graphite product from the mine’s previous operation remains on the El Tejon site and is being submitted to two potential offtake candidates for evaluation and quality assurance purposes.

In graphene news, Canadian technology firm Grafoid Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire Hamburg, New Jersey-based Ames Rubber Corp., a company which develops and produces speciality elastomeric materials used in the defence, automotive, aerospace, personal protection and industrial sectors.

"Our purpose in acquiring Ames is to broaden Grafoid’s opportunities by bringing our Mesograf graphene materials into an established, high-value market through a diverse range of elastomeric materials, working with and through an experienced team of engineers and scientists," said Grafoid’s CEO, Gary Economo. 
 
"We see Ames as our springboard into the $700bn rubber and plastics market — a market in which we believe Grafoid can become a major influence," he added.
 
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015.

The UK’s National Graphene Institute (NGI) has named NASDAQ-listed Bruker Corp. as an official partner as the institute works towards its goal of commercialising graphene materials.

The NGI, which is part of the University of Manchester where graphene was first isolated in 2004, previously purchased seven atomic force microscopes from Bruker.

The partnership will see the US-based technology provider partially sponsor a PhD student at the NGI working on novel scanning probe microscopy techniques to characterise graphene and other 2D materials.

Sri Lanka-focused MRL Corp. has signed a contract with Adelaide Research and Innovation Pty Ltd, the commercial development arm of the University of Adelaide in Australia, to test the potential of graphite extracted from its Sri Lankan deposits for scaleable graphene production.

"The tests will seek to determine the yield and quality of isolated graphene within MRL’s graphite," the company said.

Recent tests on MRL’s material have already shown that the graphite is suitable for use in batteries.

Finally, the health of soil bacteria can enhanced through exposure to graphene oxide, new research has shown.

Scientists at China’s Nankai University in Tianjin found that graphene oxide is "relatively biocompatible", despite concerns that the nanocarbon’s innate properties make it a prime nanomaterial contaminant for soils.

According to a report by Chemistry World, which interviewed Xiangang Hu, the leader of the study, into the effects of graphene oxide on soil, the material altered bacterial communities – particularly genera exhibiting nitrogen-fixing functions. These were found to be more abundant following exposure to graphene oxide.

Experiments also indicated that soil-modified graphene oxide had higher redox potential and possessed more unpaired electrons than a pristine sample.

This is potentially problematic, as a higher number of unpaired electrons and defects on the surface of nanomaterials can increase their toxicity, however the researchers said it was too early to tell whether to be concerned about the impact of graphene contamination.

*Conversions made April 2015