Post navigation Elcora – fully committed to battery production, nuclear grade graphite and “true graphene”
Clarity is rapidly coming to the natural graphite supply world. First let’s define some terms: A mine is a deposit that is being worked to produce a product suitable for sale. A deposit is a development project, which, if successful, will or could become a “mine”- Products must be sold not just produced for even a working mine to be a going concern, i.e., one with a positive cash flow. Elcora Resources Corp. (TSXV:ERA | OTCQB:ECORF) is rapidly moving to position itself as a vertically integrated supplier of industrial graphite; nuclear graphite; and what I am calling “true graphene.” In fact Elcora’s subsidiary, Graphene Corp. will be, as the company’s external advisor on science and technology assures us, the world’s first provider of “true graphene.”
The company’s core property, a high grade graphite deposit, previously in production under a prior ownership, in Sri Lanka,has now been brought back into production under the supervision of Elcora’s CTO, Prof Ian Flint (Phd) as an operating mine and mill capable of an initial output of 2500 tons of 99% C graphite per annum. It is being ramped up to a targeted production of over 10,000/tonnes per annum.
Elcora’s Sri Lankan graphite is among the highest grade (therefore least contaminated) being mined today anywhere. It is therefore ideally suited to be economically and efficiently processed into both (lithium ion) battery grade and nuclear grade graphite. In addition, and by no means of less importance, when I visited the Centre for Advanced 2D Materials, CA2DM (previously known as Graphene Research Centre) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) on November 11 of last year the director, Prof Antonio H. Castro Neto, told me that Elcora’s Sri Lankan graphite had the highest conversion rate to “true’ graphene that CA2DM had ever seen. It cannot be overemphasized that Ecora’s core competency is in world-class process engineering, so that its basket of state-of-the-art graphite and graphene products can be made from a wide variety of natural graphite deposits. The company is therefore actively and currently reviewing the global junior graphite space for additional raw material supply opportunities.
The CA2DM laboratory was the most comprehensive university laboratory I have ever seen. Professor Neto told me that it has attracted funding in the order of hundreds of millions of dollars from the funding agencies in Singapore and its annual budget is in the tens of millions of dollars per year with its basic funding from the university and the government augmented by funding from Global1000 companies worldwide. The only comparable facility in the world for the study of graphene is located in Manchester, UK, the National Graphene Institute (NGI) that has been funded by the UK government in hundreds of millions of pounds, and one of the winners of the Nobel Physics Prize for Graphene in 2010, Sir Andre Geim, who is associated with the Manchester institute routinely spends one month a year in Singapore working with his longtime colleague, Prof Neto. who is an advisor to Elcora.
Now, what do I mean by “true graphene?” I was fortunate enough to be present at a seminar on graphene at a facility of the US Dept of Defense on the (US) East coast, in October of last year. Elcora was the sponsor and Prof Neto was the distinguished invited speaker. The room was populated by scientists and engineers who the DoD refers to as “subject matter specialists,” who are defined as those researchers whose study and work give them expert knowledge of the “subject matter” at hand. In this case the subject matter is the commercialization of graphene to improve the strength of materials. Present were those who work on the problems of strengthening materials for personal protection and,or engaged in devising specialty coatings for ant-corrosion and anti-fouling for pipes, storage tanks, land vehicles, and ships.
Professor Neto began by referring to published work on the efficacy of graphene in the aforementioned applications. He noted that most of the work done on graphene applications gave results in conformance with theory. But, in fact, he said, the applications showed little improvement over using finely divided graphite for those same purposes. He then startled the audience by stating that the work in question showed poor results because it was done, in fact, with finely divided graphite rather than with graphene. He then showed results from his laboratory, utilizing what he defined and had and does produce there as “true graphene,” that were dramatically better than the results in the public literature.
After his technical presentation on true graphene and methods of its manufacture there was only one dissenter in the room to Prof Neto’s thesis that most, if not all, applications reported in the literature were not based on “true graphene” but rarer on finely divided graphite. The researchers were eager to get samples of true graphene.
Elcora is committed to the commercial production of battery and nuclear grade graphite by the end of the 2nd quarter, 2016. Off-takes have already been negotiated so that positive cash flow is expected by that time.
In addition, Elcora is committed to be the first global supplier of “true graphene” by 2nd quarter of 2016. This true graphene will be produced in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. An applications laboratory owned and operated by the company with projects overseen by professor Neto is also planned for the Halifax location.
Finally, and this cannot be overemphasized, Elcora’s costs of production of its industrial grade raw materials as well as its graphene and graphene products will be the lowest in the world. Thus its margins as well as its ability to compete will be world-class.
Academic, Industrial, and Government sponsored research laboratories will receive the first of the true graphene. After that selected commercial applications of true graphene will result in an expansion of Elcora’s downstream activities into consumer as well as military volume applications.
I sincerely believe that by mid 2016 at the latest the entire graphite/graphene space will be redefined by Elcora.