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HPQ Silicon (TSXV:HPQ) is a technology and resource company working towards becoming a vertically integrated producer of high-purity, solar-grade silicon metal. By entering into strategic partnerships with companies at different stages of the quartz-to-solar cell value chain, HPQ Silicon is enhancing the silicon metal production process and reducing its associated costs.
With an established position as the largest holder of high-purity quartz properties in Quebec, Canada, HPQ Silicon has entered into a strategic partnership with Pyrogenesis, a company that is developing its Purevap™ technology that efficiently transforms quartz into high-grade silicon metal to be used in solar cells. HPQ has also partnered with Apollon Solar — one of the world’s leaders in renewable energies — in an international development agreement under which the companies will work together to use the silicon metal produced by the Purevap™ in the development of multicrystalline and monocrystalline solar cells.
The solar energy market is one that is currently worth $34 billion and is consistently growing as renewable energy attains critical mass and continues to garner attention from consumers. Seeking to help address the needs of this market and working to dispel the challenges associated with the production of silicon metal, HPQ is on the path to delivering a cost-effective, innovative solution in the form of the Purevap™ reactor.
HPQ is led by a team of mining and finance executives that have experience developing companies and projects in various spaces. The team is supported by their strategic partners, Pyrogenesis and Apollon, both of which bring in depth technological experience and knowledge. Management is also significantly invested in the company, holding 10 percent of shares.
- Working towards being a vertically integrated producer of high-purity, solar-grade silicon metal
- R&D technology dream team from partnerships with Pyrogenesis and Apollon Solar
- Rapidly proceeding through the R&D stages of Purevap™ technology that transforms quartz into solar-grade silicon metal
- Full-scale pilot plant expected to be operational by 2018
- Largest quartz property holder in Quebec; quartz to be used as feed for Purevap™ Reactor
- Addressing the needs of a $34 billion solar energy market
- Strong management team which holds 10 percent of company shares
Silicon in Solar
A fact unknown to many is that solar cells use solar-grade silicon metal to convert sun rays into electricity. The production of one watt of solar energy requires five grams of silicon metal.
Currently a $34 billion market, the solar market is expected — according to Deutsche Bank — to increase by a factor of 10 over the next 20 years. The growth in the market is being led by innovations such as Tesla’s solar products as well as by government demands for reductions in CO2 emissions.
Despite the size of the market and the appeal that might have to producers, there are number of challenges associated with silicon metal production. This includes issues such as high capital and operating costs; a multi-stage and complex smelting and refining process; and a large carbon and energy footprint expended during production. To help address these issues, HPQ has partnered with Pyrogenesis in the development of its Purevap™ technology.
In 2016, HPQ entered into a research and development partnership with Pyrogenesis — a world leader in plasma technology innovation — which has been developing a disruptive, low-cost, green metallurgical solution to transform high-purity quartz into solar-grade silicon metal. HPQ has a 90 percent stake in the project and is providing the strategic direction and marketing components.
Compared to other solutions which use approximately five steps and require significant amounts of strong acids or acid gas, the Purevap™ process is a one-step process that only needs carbon and uses much less energy than its competitors. Once deployed, the Purevap™ Reactor will eliminate several of the complex steps, reducing operational costs by as much as 80 percent, reducing the use of aggressive chemicals and reducing the carbon footprint by at least 75 percent.
Testing and pilot plant
Over the course of 2017, the companies conducted extensive testing on the first generation of the Purevap™ Reactor, with the goal of identifying the best pathway in which to produce silicon metal at a 99.99 percent purity level. In 2017, the Gen 1 reactor was used to conduct ‘proof of concept’ lab scale testing which resulted in the production of silicon metal nuggets.
During that time, Pyrogenesis was able to accelerate its testing schedule and launched its Gen 2 Purevap™ Quartz Reduction Reactor ‘mini’ pilot plant in October 2017. This initial pilot is a 1/250 scale model of the anticipated 200 tonnes per annum pilot plant and is being used as part of the industrial confirmation phase, where HPQ will use Stage 1 results to focus on the design of the pilot plant and potential process improvements.
The full scale pilot plant will be constructed for final design testing and commercial validation and is expected to be operational by the end of 2018. Meanwhile, commercial operation is budgeted to start in 2019.
Quartz Property Position in Quebec
In order to provide the feed material for the Purevap™ Reactor and the development of solar-grade silicon metal, HPQ owns over 3,500 hectares of high-purity quartz land claims in Quebec. This includes the Roncevaux property, which has passed rigorous testing protocols that confirmed that the material is highly suited for silicon metal production. The property hosts samples of up to 3N purity (99.9 percent silicon oxide). As well, the company’s Martinville property has shown rare samples of 4N purity (99.99 percent silicon oxide).
HPQ also holds a selection of gold properties in Quebec held in a subsidiary called Beauce Gold Fields. The subsidiary is in the process of being spun out of the company to become a TSX Venture listed company.
Bernard J. Tourillon, MBA—Chairman, CEO and Director
For the last 20 years, Bernard Tourillon has held senior-level executive positions with extensive finance, marketing, administration and public accounting experience in diverse industries including exploration and mining companies. Since joining HPQ Silicon in 2006, he has participated in fundraising activities and financial transactions worth over $12 million. Since 2010 he is participating into the transformation of HPQ Silicon from a simple exploration Corporation into High Purity Quartz and Gold exploration company focused on generating free cash flow. He was also instrumental in securing a partnership with PYROGENESIS, a world leader in plasma technology, to develop the PUREVAP™ QUARTZ VAPORIZATION REACTOR.
Patrick Levasseur—President, COO and Director
Patrick Levasseur has 10 years of experience as an Investment Executive with various Canadian Securities firms (ScotiaMcLeod, Research Capital, Laurentian Bank Securities). Previously, he worked as a Sales Executive and Director of Sales for major hotels. During which he was Founder and President of the Quebec Hotel Sales & Marketing Association. Other notable entrepreneurial accomplishments were to help in the expansion of the family business of retail Bridal Centers, founding and then selling a POS Technology company and a personal interest in geology and prospecting lead to the creation of Ice Age Gold Corporation.
Daryl Hodges—Independent Director
Daryl Hodges brings over 35 years of capital markets and global mining industry experience. He was a founding partner of Jennings Capital Inc. and from 2010 – 2013, and he served as Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman, as well as Director of Jennings Capital (U.S.A.). Inc. He is a geologist and currently serves as President of capital markets advisory firm, Ladykirk Capital Advisors.
Peter H. Smith, PhD, PEng—Director
Peter H. Smith is a Director and founder of Fancamp Exploration Ltd. and is presently Chairman of the Board and President. He has been a Director of Fancamp Exploration Ltd. and its predecessor company, Fancamp Resources Ltd, since January 1986. He is presently a Director of Lamêlée Iron Ore Ltd., since May of 2014 and served as a Director of Argex Titanium Inc. from October 2009 to May 2013. He has served as a Director of Litewave Corp. and St. Georges Platinum Base Metals Ltd. since January 2010, leaving the latter company in October 2010. He was a Director of Golden Hope Mines Ltd from May 1997 to August 2009. He is a member of the Ontario Order of Professional Engineers and is a former Director of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada.
Richard Mimeau, Bc—Director
Richard Mimeau holds a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from the University du Quebec a Montreal. He is currently General Director of the “Conseil des entreprise de services environnementaux”. He has many years experience in managerial positions in private companies as well as in political parties and associations. Notably, he has worked as advisor and campaign organiser for many prominent federal, provincial and municipal leaders.
Noelle Drapeau, LLL, MBA, PMP—Corporate Secretary, Director
Noelle Drapeau has 31 years of experience in commercial law. A certified ITIL, she performs project management in best business practices development and implementation in competitiveness and regulated activity sectors. She has achieved various business processes development, implementation, management and optimization projects in investment products, financial institutions and telecommunications sectors.
Robert Robitaille, MBA, LPh—Director
A management consultant for over 40 years, Robert Robitaille has worked for different entities in Canada and in other countries. Since 1989, he has been a director and the President of Secodev Management Group Inc., a firm focused on performing and developing organizations, effective management systems, efficient work organization and optimization of human resources.
Francois Rivard has 20 years of experience working in finance and accounting for private and publicly traded companies including Group Dynamis, Group DTM, Socanav and Afri-Can Marine Minerals.
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