Leading Edge Materials Corp. (TSXV:LEM) (OTCQB:LEMIF) is pleased to provide an update regarding the Company’s current activities and future plans for the 100% owned Woxna graphite mine in Sweden.
Woxna is a unique European graphite project, positioned to become a leading supplier of sustainable graphite for the high growth lithium ion battery market. As lithium ion batteries contain up to 20% high purity graphite as the anode, it is an increasingly critical raw material as battery manufacturing expands in Europe.
Blair Way, President and CEO, stated “The Company has received a number of queries about the recent price volatility. The Company is not aware of any fundamental changes to the Company or the outlook for its assets over the past week.”
Woxna is a fully constructed mine, with all processing, waste management and infrastructure in place. During 2017, Woxna was granted a 25-year extension to its operating licence. The site is presently held on a production ready basis as the research necessary to maximise the value of products for sale is completed.
Leading Edge Materials is focused on product development to meet the needs of potential European lithium ion battery customers. Due to safety and performance considerations, supplying new materials to the battery market is a long and challenging path, and it is only through large sample volumes and commercial scale processes that materials can gain industrial qualification. Due to the fully built status of the Woxna mine, Leading Edge Materials is much further advanced than most industry peers on this path to supply anode materials to a growing European lithium ion battery market.
The business objective of Leading Edge Materials is to own and control a sustainable production chain for graphite anode material from mining through to blending of customer ready product. The Company shall also produce saleable by-products to fully utilize all graphite material mined at Woxna.
In order to achieve these objectives, various strategic research is underway or scheduled, building upon the extensive operating and research knowledge of the Company. Activities include:
- Complete an internal trade off study for installation of a Battery Graphite Demonstration Plant at the Woxna site designed to produce substantial volumes of commercial anode materials. Study recommendations are expected mid Q3 2018;
- Undertake additional graphite shaping/spheronising trials for final selection of appropriate equipment to achieve consistent product specifications at Demonstration Plant scale. Results are expected during Q3 2018;
- Conduct further thermal purification test work to allow equipment selection and ensure consistent results in line with customer specifications. Results are anticipated Q3 2018;
- Complete detailed design for the Battery Graphite Demonstration Plant to enable commercial scale production of samples for customer qualification. Results expected Q4 2018;
- Subject to finance and satisfactory technical results, install purification and shaping Demonstration Plant on Woxna mine site and produce substantial quantities of graphite materials for potential customers. Initial results expected Q2 2019 as part of an on-going qualification and product optimization campaign;
- Use Demonstration Plant by-product material to investigate alternate markets benefiting from the thermal and conductive characteristics of natural graphite;
Blair Way, President and CEO, stated “Within a European context, the value of a fully built and permitted mine site cannot be under estimated. The fortunate legacy created by previous investment places Woxna as a graphite industry leader, able to now invest specifically in gaining the maximum value from our materials. Our focus on larger “Demonstration Plant” scale testing is motivated by extensive customer discussion, and will allow us to engage with potential customers with the volume of material that is required to achieve battery industry qualification.”
The EU Battery Market
The electrification of Europe is well underway, with batteries playing an increasingly important role both in the electrification of transport systems and the grid integration of expanding renewable energy sources. As Europe currently imports a majority of battery cells for transportation and storage purposes, Leading Edge Materials is working with the companies aiming to manufacture cells in Europe.
Late 2017 the EU Battery Alliance was formed by more than 50 of Europe’s strongest corporate voices within the emerging lithium ion battery sector, plus numerous support and government agencies. The EU Battery Alliance was in response to the recognition that despite world-leading fundamental research and a broad customer base, particularly in the automotive industry, Europe is not playing a significant role in the industrial production of lithium ion batteries. European Commission research estimates that by 2025, the European battery market will have an annual value in the order of €250 billion, reflecting approximately 200 GWh of energy storage capacity per year, an industry too large to be left to global competitors.
Leading Edge Materials is the only potential supplier of natural graphite anode material within the EU Battery Alliance, which allows the Company’s voice to be clearly heard with regard to the sustainable supply of European raw materials.
On behalf of the Board,
Blair Way, President & CEO
The qualified person for the Company’s project, Mr. Blair Way B.S. (Geology) M.B.A., a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, the Company’s President and CEO, has reviewed and verified the contents of this document.
About Leading Edge Materials
Leading Edge Materials is a Canadian public company focused on production of high value critical raw materials for the European market, with an operating base in the Nordic region, a region well recognised for its promotion and investment in innovation. LEM’s flagship asset is the Woxna Graphite production facility located in central Swedentargeting the supply of specialty materials for lithium ion battery production. LEM’s assets and research focus are towards the raw materials for Li-ion batteries (graphite, lithium, cobalt); materials for high thermal efficiency building products (graphite, silica, nepheline); and materials that improve the efficiency of energy generation (dysprosium, neodymium, hafnium). Investments are linked to the global shift to low-carbon energy generation and energy storage. Leading Edge Materials currently operate in four divisions, Graphite, Lithium, Rare Earth and Cobalt. Mangold Fondkommission AB is the company’s Certified Adviser (“CA”) as part of the listing requirements for Nasdaq First North.
Leading Edge Materials is listed on the TSXV under the symbol “LEM” and Nasdaq First North Stockholm under the symbol ” LEMSE”. Mangold Fondkommission AB is the Company’s Certified Adviser on Nasdaq First North.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this news release.
Forward-Looking Information. This news release may contain forward-looking statements and information based on current expectations. These statements should not be read as guarantees of future performance or results. Such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those implied by such statements. Such statements include but are not limited to, unexpected geological conditions; the Company’s expectations regarding exploration activities to advance critical material projects for energy storage markets, delays in obtaining or failure to obtain necessary permits and approvals from government authorities. Although such statements are based on management’s reasonable assumptions, there are risk factors which could cause the Company’s actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking information contained herein. All forward-looking information herein is qualified in its entirety by this cautionary statement, and the Company disclaims any obligation to revise or update any such forward-looking information or to publicly announce the result of any revisions to any of the forward-looking information contained herein to reflect future results, events or developments, except as required by law.