IM Graphite News in Brief 13 – 19 November

By James Sean Dickson
Published: Thursday, 19 November 2015

Bogala mulls delisting in Sri Lanka; Syrah scoops further sales agreements; Glasgow researchers cut costs of CVD graphene production.

Sri Lankan vein graphite exporter Bogala Graphite Lanka Plc is considering whether to remain listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange in view of the bourse’s minimum public float rules, according to a report by Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror.

"The company is evaluating what steps it should take to remain as a listed entity," the company said in its financial statement for the period ending 30 September 2015. "Once a decision is made, all shareholders will be kept informed."

The Sri Lankan miner is more than 90% owned by Germany-based Graphit Kropfmuhl GmbH, now AMG Graphite. The Sri Lankan Treasury Secretary holds a 0.54% stake in the company, which has a market capitalisation of Sri Lankan rupee (SLR) 1.59bn ($11.2m*).

According to the Daily Mirror, a number of companies have delisted from the Colombo Stock Exchange while others have demoted themselves to its secondary board in response to new listing rules introduced in January 2014.

The rules state that the public must have a 20% stake in main board listed businesses or a 10% holding in secondary board companies by a deadline of 31 December 2016.

ASX-listed Syrah Resources Ltd has signed a statement of sales intent (SSI) for an offtake agreement with an unnamed company, described as "one of the world’s largest refractory producers".

The deal, if finalised, will see the refractories business purchase 15,000 tpa graphite from Syrah’s Balama project in Mozambique to be used in manufacturing facilities worldwide. Syrah said that the SSI will be valid for 10 years and that the potential customer has received samples of Balama graphite and confirmed that these meet its internal qualification requirements.

Last week, the company also signed a product sales and marketing agreement with Morgan AM&T Hairong Co. Ltd for the sale and marketing of uncoated and coated spherical graphite within China.

Morgan Hairong is the second largest coated spherical graphite producer in China according to Syrah, which added that the company is looking to expand its production capacity in anticipation of future spherical graphite demand.

"Syrah is also in discussions with other parties around the world in relation to further spherical graphite offtake agreements, and we look forward to finalising these in the future," said Tolga Kumova, Syrah’s managing director, said.

Elsewhere, UK AIM-listed StratMin Global Resources Plc has issued an update on its transaction with Australia-based Bass Metals Ltd , which is the process of acquiring a 25% stake in StratMin’s subsidiary, Graphmada Mauritius.

Bass has informed Stratmin that they will complete the remaining payments for the first tranche of the deal announced on 2 September 2015 as soon as possible and no later than 31 December 2015. Following negotiation, the second tranche, totalling £1.5m ($2.3m) will be deferred until Q1 2016 to allow for funding from the announced settlement to be maximised, StratMin said.

StratMin is currently producing graphite from the Loharano graphite mine in Madagascar and moved to 24-hour production at the facility in September.

In Tanzania, ASX-listed Black Rock Mining Ltd has discovered graphite mineralisation at its Bagamoyo project that could extend for a strike length of 40-55km.

Fieldwork at the site mapped an area of graphite 3.5km by 700 metres in the project’s entral lode as well as additional graphite mineralisation identified over 7km of strike at the Wami lode. Tests on rock chip samples from the property have yielded an average grade of 7.1% total graphitic carbon (TGC), with purities up to 9.9% TGC assayed.

First pass drilling in this the central lode, where Black Rock says the mineralisation is particularly coarse grained, is planned to begin next month and will include eight to 12 reconnaissance holes to test depth continuity while regional exploration takes place.

In Canada, Ontario-based Zenyatta Ventures Ltd has received a fresh delivery of purified graphite material from SGS Canada Inc.'s Lakefield site on its Albany graphite project, graded at 99.9% graphitic carbon.

The material was delivered to be passed on to interested parties for testing and to enable the continuation of discussions and due diligence evaluations.

"The company expects to continue to produce a graphite product on a test basis with strict specifications  based on feedback from interested end users under signed confidentiality agreement," Bharat Chahar, Zenyatta's vice president for market development, said.

Canada Strategic Metals Inc. and Lomiko Metals Inc. have intersected further near surface graphite at the La Loutre project in Quebec, which the two TSX-listed explorers are developing as part of a joint venture.

Highlights from the latest set of drilling results include one intersection of 112 metres of flake graphite grading at 2.73% C and one of 103 metres grading at 2.83% C.

The La Loutre property consists of contiguous claim blocks totalling approximately 2.9 ha (28.7km2) situated approximately 53km east of Imerys Graphite and Carbon’s operational Lac des Iles mine and 117km northwest of Montreal.  

Nearby, OTC-traded American Graphite Technologies Inc. has started phase one exploration at its Lac Rouge graphite project in Quebec. The exploration work will include ground prospecting, limited geological mapping of outcrops and surface sampling.

The company said that the results of the initial programme will help it to develop a detailed graphite exploration plan which it intends to execute in spring 2016.

In Australia, Metallica Minerals Ltd has recorded intersections measuring 49 metres and 120 metres of visible graphite mineralisation at depths of 72 metres and 68 metres, respectively, at its Esmerelda project in Queensland.

The two drill holes are believed to indicate potential lateral continuity of graphite mineralisation for more than 1.2km over the 750km2 project. Preliminary assay results from the drill cored are expected to be received towards the end of November.

Sayona Mining Ltd has advanced the planning of the first-phase drill programme at its Corkwood project in East Kimberly, Western Australia.

A cultural heritage survey will begin this week with the drill programme commencing shortly afterwards. A total combined length of 2,000-3,000 metres will be drilled, comprised of both reverse circulation and diamond drilling methods.

Sayona advised that in Brazil, the due diligence programme at its Itabela site is at an "advanced stage". It added that it has been subjected to delays in receiving information and data relating to the assessment of the project’s resource potential.

New York-based Graphite Corp. has said that third party independent tests on graphite anode technology developed by one of its portfolio businesses, Tubz LLC, have confirmed that anodes have charging rates 10 times faster and a battery capacity three times greater than current commercially available products.

According to Graphite Corp., its anodes will allow smart phones to be charged in six minutes and extend their use time from six hours to 18-21 hours, while laptop battery life can be extended from two-to-four hours to between six and 12 hours.

Canada Carbon Inc. has signed an agreement to sell 75,000 tonnes marble from its Miller graphite project site. The architectural-quality marble makes up the host rock of the deposit.

The company said that the marble will be sold for around Canadian dollar (C$) 184/tonne ($139/tonne), subject to provisions and royalties on value added blocks of the material.

The one-year contract will begin once a quarry permit is granted, Canada Carbon said.

In financing news, ASX-listed Mustang Resources Ltd has been granted a trading halt as it prepares to raise funds for a 3,000 metre drilling programme at its portion of the Balama graphite project in Mozambique.

The halt will remain in place until 23 November or until an announcement is made.

In graphene news, Applied Graphene Materials Plc reported a widened loss for the year ended July 2015 as it increased its investments in operations.

The UK-based company booked a pre-tax loss of £4m, larger than the £2.7m loss reported a year previous.

"Excellent progress has been made during the period. We increased and strengthened partnerships with customers, including global brand names in each of our three core market segments," Applied Graphene’s CEO, Jon Mabbitt, said.

The company said that its larger losses stemmed from investments in production and overheads, covering an expanding number of employees and more substantial business infrastructure, in addition to costs planned for future years being brought forward.

Finally, researchers from Glasgow University in Scotland claim to have developed a method for producing a high grade form of the nanocarbon using commercially available copper, rather than the expensive, pre-treated material usually used as a substrate for making graphene via the chemical vapour deposition (CVD) method.

According to the Glasgow scientists, this breakthrough could make producing graphene around 100 times cheaper than current methods.

"Our process produces high-quality graphene at low cost, taking us one step closer to creating affordable new electronic devices with a wide range of applications, from the smart cities of the future to mobile healthcare," said Dr Ravinder Dahiya from Glasgow University’s School of Engineering, quoted in The Engineer.

"The commercially-available copper we used in our process retails for around $1/square metre, compared to around $115 for a similar amount of the copper currently used in graphene production," he added.

*Conversions made November 2015