Gratomic (TSXV:GRAT) is a resource exploration and development company focused on bringing the high-grade Aukam graphite project back into production. The Aukam property, which is located near the port of Luderitz in southern Namibia, hosts five underground adits that were mined between 1940 and 1974.
During past production at Aukam, five surface stockpiles were created at the time, with 73 composite samples taken from the lower three stockpiles assaying an average of 42 percent carbon as graphite (Cg). The stockpiles are ready to be processed and Gratomic intends to put them towards the initial feedstock for the first two years of production.
Based on this potential path to production, Gratomic Inc. believes it is on schedule to bring the Aukam project into production in Q4 of 2020. In anticipation of this milestone, Gratomic has been working to explore the Aukam project and improve its understanding of the graphite mineralization in the area. The company is led by a team of graphite experts and executives with lengthy experience working in Namibia, including CEO & President Arno Brand who has 12 years of experience working on major construction and mining projects in Africa.
Thanks to the progress made by Gratomic’s technical team, the company has been successful in upscaling the pure vein graphite found on the property into 99.9 percent Cg through the addition of air classification. Gratomic has tested its Aukam-based graphite in a number of high-value applications.
Through the development of the company’s flagship Aukam property, Gratomic aims to become a cleaner source of graphite for North American consumers, especially those in the electric vehicle industry. “Gratomic has entered into discussions with several carbon-to-battery experts with the intent to provide a tailored product for the battery market,” said CEO and President Arno Brand. The global graphite market is projected to grow to reach US$29.05 billion by 2020 according to projections by Markets and Markets.
In October 2020, the company revealed that it is closer to the construction of its Aukam processing plant being completed after custom drying and dewatering equipment had arrived.
Additionally, Gratomic has officially made its entrance into the electric vehicle market by submitting 243 kg of high purity graphite taken from its pilot testing program to be used as an anode material in lithium-ion battery cells. Through this process, the company hopes to establish itself as a leader by proving that its graphite will be suitable for the anode supply chain for battery manufacturers in North America.
Gratomic has secured an ML215 mining license from the Ministry of Mines and Energy in Namibia, covering base and rare metals, industrial minerals and precious metals. The license covers the Aukam processing plant and the graphite-bearing shear zone that has been previously identified on the property. Gratomic believes that its ML215 license is a critical step on the path towards re-establishing commercial production at Aukam.
The Aukam project includes a total of four graphite exploration licenses, in addition to three stockpiles of lumps, fines and coarse-fines that were created from bulk sampling and screening programs conducted by Gratomic. The stockpiles are ready to be processed and could be used for the initial feedstock during the first two years of production. Gratomic has signed an off-take agreement with TODAQ which it anticipates will begin in November 2020 in order to fill the first purchase order of 1800 tonnes.
According to the Fraser Institute’s 2018 survey of mining companies, Namibia was the second-most friendly African mining jurisdiction in terms of its policy perception. Gratomic believes the country is both politically and economically stable while offering the optimal geology for mine development.
Gratomic’s Company Highlights
- Targeting the global graphite market, projected to grow to US$29.05 billion by 2020 at a CAGR of 5.2 percent from 2017 to 2022
- High-grade Aukam project hosts crystalline vein graphite with grades between 3 and 81 percent carbon as graphite
- Successfully upscaled pure vein graphite at Aukam into 99.9 percent Cg through the addition of air classification
- Stockpiles at Aukam are ready to be used as initial feedstock in the first two years of production
- Off-take agreement at Aukam signed with TODAQ, including a first purchase order of 1800 tonnes
- Secured an ML215 mining license on the Aukam project which covers the Aukam processing plant and the graphite-bearing shear zone
- Aukam project benefits from nearby infrastructure including a paved railway and road to the port of Luderitz
- Namibia ranked as the second-best jurisdiction in terms of policy perception according to the 2018 Fraser Institute’s annual survey
- Aukam processing plant closer being completed after custom drying and dewatering equipment arrived in October 2020
- Entering the electric vehicle market by submitting 243 kg of high purity graphite from its pilot testing program for use as an anode material in lithium-ion battery cells