IM Graphite News in Brief 18 – 24 December

By Laura Syrett
Published: Thursday, 24 December 2015

IMX spins off Tanzanian graphite asset; Next and Ashburton release test results; European GRAFOL project unveils graphene mass production tool.

Australia-headquartered IMX Resources Ltd plans to spin off its Tanzanian graphite assets into a new ASX-listed entity as part of a restructuring that will allow the company to focus on its base metals and gold portfolio.

IMX said that its flagship Chilalo graphite project, valued at $73.8m, will become the main asset of the new standalone company named "NewCo", which will have its own dedicated board and management team. NewCo is a standard name for spinoff companies and a new name is likely to be chosen in due course.

The company will continue to pursue offtake agreements and financing for Chilalo during the transition period and expects the deal to be completed by the end of April 2016. IMX said that despite positive exploration results for Chilalo, the value of the asset was not being reflected in the company’s share price.

IMX wills suspend operations at its Ntaka Hill nickel project in view of the weak nickel market and will concentrate instead on the Kishugu and Naujombo gold properties – all three of which are located in Tanzania.

Also in Africa, Canadian-headquartered Next Graphite Inc. has issued testing and grading results from work on a 1,000kg underground sample taken from the lower adit of the company’s Aukam property in Namibia.

The latest rounds of testing have been funded by Next Graphite’s joint venture with TSX-V-listed Caribou Carbon Corp.

Samples were taken as part of a 25-tonne bulk sampling programme and tested by Lilhof Enterprises in Namibia. Results of assays from 84 unscreened samples showed a purity range of 11.39-72.14% C with an average grade of 27.66% C.

Flake size distributions determined on three composite samples indicated primarily medium to large flakes (35-38.4%) and fine flakes (39.7-42%). A 129 kg sample of the Aukam ore with a head grade of 29.65% C was upgraded by flotation and acid wash to 96.13% C material.

In Canada, TSX-V-listed Ashburton Ventures Inc. has released more assay results from outcrop sampling at its Buckingham graphite project in southern Quebec.

A total of 18 outcrop samples were taken from a newly discovered lump-vein bearing graphitic zone and from in and around the zone where drilling is currently taking place.

Samples from the newly discovered area mostly contained lump-vein type graphite and yielded assays of between 8.8% C and 68% C. Samples from the existing drilling area contained mainly disseminated graphite and assayed between 13.3% C and 28.6% C.

The samples were treated at SGS Lakefield in Ontario.

Canada Carbon Inc. has published an update on the status of its ASTM research programme, aimed at developing standard assessment protocols to determine the chemical purity and neutron absorption potential for natural graphite material intended for nuclear applications.

The company announced in September that thermally upgraded graphite from its Miller property had been selected for assessment towards developing a standard natural graphite material for nuclear applications.

Four international laboratories, one from the US and three from the EU, have participated in the round-robin testing of Miller graphite, contributing eight analytical datasets arising from three different glow discharge mass spectrometry (GDMS) instrumental platforms. These experimental results are currently being interpreted in accordance with ASTM standards.

The GDMS analytical results will be compared with those arising from two different preparatory methods for inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) analysis, as well as those arising from particle induced x-ray emission (PIXE), each of which is capable of producing analytical results of similar analytical sensitivity.

ASX-listed Triton Minerals Ltd has extended the due diligence period regarding its letter of intent (LOI) with Chinese equity firm and resources trading house, Shenzhen Qianhai Zhongjin Group Co. Ltd.

Under the terms of the LOI, Shenzen Qianhai will provide funding of up to $200m to build a graphite concentrate operation with an initial production capacity of 200,000 tpa.

The due diligence period under the LOI was due to expire on 31 December 2015, but the parties have agreed an in principle extension for a further 3 months to 31 March 2016. All other terms of the LOI remain unchanged.

Also listed in Australia, Sayona Mining Ltd has restructured its agreement with Brasil Graphite SA regarding Sayona’s interest in the Itabela graphite project in Brazil.

The restructured deal includes the parties’ option-to-purchase agreement, which is aligned to exploration success with future payment schedules. The option exercise payment has been reduced from $3.5m to $1.5m, payable in June 2016, and the balance of payments is to be based on delineating JORC resources

Sayona’s initial due diligence activities have confirmed the potential for Itabela to be established as a near-term, globally competitive, low capital and operating cost development opportunity. Drilling at Itabela is due to commence in early 2016.

In financing news, TSX-V-listed Focus Graphite Inc. has closed a private placement of 14.3m flow-through common shares at a price of $0.10/common share for aggregate proceeds of $1.43m.

Funds raised from the offering will be allocated to exploration work on Focus’ mineral properties in Quebec, where the company owns the Lac Knife graphite deposit.

Fellow TSX-V-listed Great Lakes Graphite Inc. has issued a new non-brokered private placement offering of up to 3m units of company equity.

The placement will consist of an offering of 3m flow-through units, each priced at Canadian dollar (C$) 0.07 ($0.05*), for gross proceeds of up to C$210,000. The offering is scheduled to close on 30 December 2015. Net proceeds will be used to develop the company’s Lochaber graphite project.

Northern Graphite Corp. has announced the voluntary cancelation of 500,000 stock options held by non-executive directors. The company has a total of around 51.28m common shares and 1,18m share purchase warrants issued and outstanding and 3.8m options after giving effect to the recent cancellation.

Northern Graphite is developing the Bissett Creek graphite project in Ontario.

In graphene news, UK-listed Applied Graphene Materials Plc (AGM) has announced a share placing to raise £10.1m ($15m) to scale up its graphene production facilities.

The company has conditionally raised £8.1m (before expenses), through the placing of around 4.63m new ordinary shares at a price of £1.75/share. It has also announced an open offer to raise up to £2m.

AGM will use the cash to increase its manufacturing capacity to 6 tpa and to form collaborations and joint development activity with customers, including the development of new intellectual property, pursuing production orders and finance the working capital requirements for at least 12 months.

Finally, researchers working on the €10.6m ($11.57m) European research project, GRAFOL, have demonstrated a cost-effective roll-to-roll production tool capable of making large sheets of graphene on an industrial scale, according to news service, Graphene-info.

The tool operates at atmospheric pressure and at reduced operating temperature. The GRAFOL team believe that graphene produced in this way could be used as a substitute for transparent indium tin oxide (ITO) electrodes used in organic LEDs (OLEDs), enabling flexible designs while helping reduce dependency on ITO.

The team also showed that it is possible to adapt the chemical vapour deposition (CVD) of making graphene to grow the nanocarbon on 300 mm-diameter silicon wafers – the standard size currently used in the semiconductor industry. That suggests the potential to integrate graphene in silicon photonics platforms, as well as flexible thin-film solar cells with transparent electrodes.

*Conversions made December 2015