Please note that this article was updated on August 3, 2017 to include the following information relevant to investors: The Alberta Securities Commission issued an interim order on March 21, 2017 to Saint Jean Carbon barring trading in securities of Saint Jean Carbon by company CEO Paul Ogilvie and others (please refer to the interim order for full details).
Saint Jean Carbon (TSXV:SJI) is positioning itself to supply graphite to the emerging electric vehicle battery market. The company released its preliminary drill results for the Bell Graphite property in Quebec, Canada on August 2; showing results from 7 of the 11 drill holes. The company called the results “encouraging” because the initial findings support historical mining results and demonstrate the extension at depth of graphite mineralization for at least 300 metres on strike.
The Bell Graphite property is located in the Buckingham-Gatineau area and includes the historic Bell Mine, which produced approximately 6,700 tonnes of graphite between 1906 and 1912. Exploration drilling in the 1950s defined a downward extension of the graphite deposit. Saint Jean Carbon has three additional graphite properties in Quebec and last year it announced the start of construction on a mill capable of producing 6,800 metric tonnes per line per year of spherically shaped, carbon-coated graphite.
The firm said it entered into an agreement to acquire the Whabouchi Lithium Project. Company CEO Paul Ogilvie said, “the lithium that we hope to find on the property may allow us to test our own materials and further our goal to be a future supplier of minerals to the growing lithium-ion battery business”. Lithium-ion batteries require both graphite and lithium to power electric cars and according to Roskill, sales of electric vehicles are expected to grow by 10 percent per year over the next decade. That bodes well for future demand for materials that comprise lithium-ion batteries.
The “carbon science” company also announced the completion of a fuel cell graphene battery in June. Commenting on the battery, Ogilvie said, “we are very pleased to continue to push for opportunities for graphene in practical applications; as simple as a clock and light, next possibly a drill with the end goal of producing an electric car battery with a graphene anode. With the continued research it all helps move the goal a little closer to reality.”
In addition to owning graphite properties; the firm is developing and filing patents for graphene products. The University of Manchester said graphene research is making an impact in the areas of transport, medicine, electronics, energy, defence and desalination.
Saint Jean is one of several firms developing graphite properties in Canada but the country is not currently a major producer of the commodity. In 2016, North America produced only 4 percent of the world’s graphite supply in contrast to China, which produces 70 to 80 percent. Most of the Canadian graphite projects are located in Quebec and Ontario.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Shaw, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.