Focus Metals and Hydro-Québec IREQ sign graphite purification technology agreement and anode production agreement for Li-ion batteries
Focus Metals Inc., a Canadian emerging mid-tier junior mining company and the lead partner in Grafoid Inc., a graphene development and patenting JV (earlier post) and Hydro-Québec’s Institut de recherche d’Hydro-Québec (IREQ) recently signed a licensing agreement enabling Focus Metals to develop a graphite purification center as well as a graphite anode production facility for Lithium-ion batteries.
A new, Focus-owned facility will transform first production graphite sourced from Focus Metals’ Lac Knife, Québec high-grade deposit to battery grade material. Focus Metals President and CEO Gary Economo said the licensing agreement is in two parts.
The first part is related to Focus Metals’ development of a graphite purification process that brings Lac Knife’s processed graphite to 99.95% carbon for use in lithium battery applications. The processing includes spherical shaping, thermal and chemical purification.
The second part of the licensing agreement provides for the production of anodes for lithium ion batteries.
IREQ will provide technical support and cooperate in future material and processing technology improvements.
Economo said the new purification and production facility will be built in Québec and will be owned and managed by Focus Metals. The new purification facility will be designed, subject to positive economic analysis, to produce 15,000 tons of spherical battery grade flake graphite at peak, by 2015, and the anode production facility will be designed to produce up to 5,000 tons of anodes. The specific cost of the facilities and the financing required is yet to be determined.
In exchange for the technology license, technology support and future processing improvements, IREQ will receive a licensing fee which will be paid in cash, over 3 years, representing less than 10% of the current working capital, as well as a royalty fee based on a percentage of future sales.
This agreement represents a huge and significant milestone for us as we move through pre-development to production of our Lac Knife technology graphite deposit. In particular, this agreement reinforces our goal of becoming the lowest cost technology graphite producer in the world. To have an all-Québec technology agreement with a world leader in graphite anode development and patenting bodes well for our shareholders.—Gary Economo
The battery grade process will be incorporated into the Lac Knife Preliminary Economic Assessment due in June 2012.
Focus Metals is the 100% owner of the Lac Knife deposit containing 4.9 million tons of measured and indicated resource grading 16% Carbon as graphite (Cgr) and 3.0 million tons of inferred resource grading 16% Cgr, the bulk of which is intended for use in technology applications.