NYC industry event advances theme “think graphite today — think graphene tomorrow”
Earlier this week the key players in the graphite and graphene industry converged in Times Square (NYC) with the modus operandi to advance the industry as a whole. Focus Graphite Inc. and Grafoid Inc. were the lead sponsors of the two-day conference, which addressed virtually all aspects of the carbon allotropes. And I would like to extend a nod to their entire team (Chester Burtt, Don Baxter, Gary Economo, Dr. Gordon Chiu and team) for their leadership in effectively communicating — “think graphite today — think graphene tomorrow.”
The summit afforded attendees a comprehensive forum for graphite and graphene with world-renowned experts presenting from both the natural (in all its forms) and synthetic graphite industry, alongside graphite processors and the more recent innovators of the two-dimensional ‘wonder material’ graphene. The overall tone of the conference was very positive for the sector moving forward as industry pundits agreed on the wealth of potential for miners and scientists alike. And there was a lot to talk about. From the looming change in the global graphite supply-demand balance (China is reshaping the graphite landscape by tightening supply), to the forecasted need for some 25 new graphite mines (no, that is not a misprint; and presently there are 70 racing to qualify) that will be required to accommodate future demand, to advancements that could hasten the commercialization of graphene.
In lieu of the number of presentations, this is part 1 of 2 and summarizes the key themes of the associated participants…let me add — it was wall-to-wall and the mood was indeed positive.
Fresh on the heels of an extremely robust revised Preliminary Economic Assessment, Gary Economo, CEO of Focus Graphite Inc. (TSXV: FMS | OTCQX: FCSMF), made one of the most impressive presentations of the conference. With one of the highest-grade flake graphite deposits in the world, Mr. Economo acknowledged that, “although the competitive challenges will get tougher in the foreseeable future, Focus is well positioned to meet said challenges.” While advancing and de-risking its flagship Lac Knife Project in Quebec, Focus has positioned its strategy to succeed in a changing environment and is anticipating resurgence in demand.
One of the most brilliant scientists in graphene research, Dr. Gordon Chiu provided an exciting update on Grafoid Inc., which is advancing to towards graphene commercialization. Central to Focus Graphite’s technology vision, Grafoid has emerged as a leader on the world graphene stage by establishing MesoGraf — a patent-pending global standard for scalable, affordable graphene. Not surprisingly, Grafoid’s graphene is derived from Focus’ Lac Knife deposit. Grafoid’s primary objective is to become a key vendor among corporate giants utilizing graphene. Frankly, and let me add — you never hear me say this; but Dr. Chiu I am convinced is a certifiable genius.
Aubrey Eveleigh, President and CEO of Zenyatta Ventures Ltd. (TSXV: ZEN | OTCQX: ZENYF) provided an update and an overview of its flagship “ultra-high-purity” Albany Graphite Deposit in northeastern Ontario. Zenyatta is arguably the most unique graphite play in the world; its deposit is not conventional natural flake or amorphous graphite, but rather hydrothermal — the rarest and purest form of natural graphite. Zenyatta is developing the largest hydrothermal (or volcanic) graphite deposit in the world to target the high-quality synthetic graphite market.
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Paul Kehoe, Managing Director of the rapidly emerging Syrah Resources Limited (ASX: SYR) provided arguably one of most in-depth presentations of the conference, which was undoubtedly reflective of Syrah’s power position as leading market cap at $350M in this rising sector. Syrah is focused on advancing its high-grade Balama Graphite Project in Mozambique (southeast Africa). With one of the largest market caps in the graphite industry, Syrah boasts the world’s largest graphite deposit with Balama (inferred resource of 1.15 billion tonnes). Syrah plans to have financing in place in early 2014 and to be in commercial production by the second quarter of 2015.
President and COO of Toronto-based Energizer Resources Inc. (TSX: EGZ | OTCQX: ENZR), Craig Scherba outlined his company’s path to mine development of its massive Molo Graphite Project in southern Madagascar. Molo is one of the largest high-grade flake graphite deposits in the world. The only graphite company listed on the TSX, Energizer is positioned to be a first-to-market, low-cost graphite producer, servicing the EU, India, China, South Korea, and Japan. Energizer recently completed a full-scale pilot plant as part of its full Feasibility Study, currently underway and expected to be completed in late 2014.
Archer Exploration Limited’s (ASX: AXE) Managing Director, Gerard Anderson presented an overview of Archer’s advanced-stage Campoona Graphite Project in south Australia. Campoona has a JORC-complaint Resource, which places it in the upper quartile of graphite deposits worldwide in terms of grade (and Archer has completed rigorous deposit-wide metallurgical testing). Archer is also focused on developing graphene opportunities and has successfully produced graphene from raw Archer graphite.
Dean Besserer, Vice President of Exploration for Graphite One Resources Inc. (TSXV: GPH | OTCQX: GPHOF) provided an update on the development of the Graphite Creek Project, located on the Seward Peninsula of Alaska. Currently, the United States imports 100% of its graphite. Graphite One Resources hopes to change that by developing the US’s only advanced high-grade graphite deposit and, in turn, realize the potential to be the largest and lowest-cost US graphite producer. The fundamentals for success of Graphite Creek include a very stable pro-mining jurisdiction, excellent shipping location to the world’s major markets, scalable production potential, low CAPEX and OPEX, very low strip ratio, and a high percentage large flake graphite.
Stay tuned for more highlights tomorrow…
An accomplished entrepreneur and corporate finance professional, Tracy Weslosky is the CEO for InvestorIntel Corp. and the VP of Business Development for Bellotti Capital Partners ... <Read more about Tracy Weslosky>