Zenyatta Ventures Ltd. (“Zenyatta” or “Company”) (TSXV: ZEN) today announced it has signed a Collaboration Agreement (‘Agreement’) with Larisplast Ltd. (“Larisplast”), an Israeli business that specializes in the field of concrete admixtures. Zenyatta and Larisplast have both received grant funding from the Canada-Israel Industrial R&D Foundation under the Ontario-Israel Collaboration Program to further test the effect of adding graphene generated from Zenyatta’s Albany graphite to concrete on a pilot scale. Upon successful completion of pilot plant testing, the Agreement contemplates the formation of a new corporation (‘Newco’) jointly owned (50/50) by Zenyatta and Larisplast for the purposes of marketing this new specialized admixture product globally. Zenyatta would be the exclusive provider of purified graphite to Newco and any other party working with Larisplast on this technology.
The main objective of the collaboration is to develop a new concrete admixture with improved mechanical properties by adding Albany derived graphene. Albany graphite was found to exfoliate under sonication (sound energy process) much easier and with higher yields of graphene nano-particles than any other natural graphite types that were tested at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (‘BGU’) in Israel. Initial application testing at BGU shows that the addition of the Company’s graphene to concrete achieves a faster curing time and superior mechanical performance that inhibits premature failure and tolerates large forces produced during earthquakes or explosions. Also, this new admixture has the potential to reduce the amount of cement that will be used in construction, thereby considerably cutting carbon dioxide emissions related to its production.
Aubrey Eveleigh, President and CEO stated, “We are very excited to start our Phase 2 pilot plant collaboration program with Larisplast after a successful Phase 1 bench scale program performed at BGU. The graphene concrete application can potentially be a significant end use for our graphite material. It is not only environmentally friendly but has the potential to be a large volume consumer for our Company.” Mr. Eveleigh further stated, “Our initiative with Larisplast and BGU is an important and new target application. We are also continuing to test and develop our high purity graphite for Li-ion batteries, fuel cells and powder metallurgy with other global corporations.”
The concrete industry is a significant contributor of carbon dioxide which is a major greenhouse gas. Wide spread use of this new enhanced graphene admixture product will have the potential to reduce the amount of cement used in construction and consequently cut considerable carbon dioxide emissions. In 2015, a total of 4.1 billion tonnes of cement was produced globally (Source: USGS). Approximately 25% of this total is in the use of Ultra High Performance Concrete and High performance Concrete which have the same ingredients as normal concrete but with special additives. The potential increase in concrete performance would allow for a wider range of structures such as specialized bridges, taller buildings, marine structures and construction in seismically active areas. This could represent a very large and valuable target market for Zenyatta. The global market size, in terms of value, of concrete admixtures is estimated to be US$11.7 Billion in 2015 and is projected to reach US$18.1 Billion by 2020, at a CAGR of 9.15% between 2015 and 2020 (Source: Markets and Markets).
Larisplast is an industry leader in Israel specializing in the field of concrete admixtures. The company develops, produces, markets and distributes high quality products and materials for the Israel concrete industry according to strict Israeli‘s standards. Larisplast operates on a nationwide basis in Israel and is currently developing international markets and distribution channels.
BGU is a research leader in alternative energy, robotics and nano-technology while playing a critical role in transforming Israel’s high-tech growth. Specifically, the BGU research group focuses on carbon nanotubes and graphene product derivatives for new applications. The Advanced Technologies Park (ATP), adjacent to BGU is home to many multi-national high-tech companies, such as EMC, Oracle, Hewlett Packard, and Deutsche Telekom, which are leveraging the R&D expertise of BGU mainly through B. G. Negev Technologies and Applications Ltd. (“BGN”). BGN is the technology transfer and commercialization company for development of university technologies with industry partners.
BGU’s expertise in nanoscience is advancing new materials to convert light and heat into electrical energy, to produce lightweight cars and planes of unprecedented strength. Researchers are developing incredibly small transistors to power computers, membranes for desalinating water, graphene surfaces loaded with specific drugs for delivery to targeted diseased cells, graphene reinforcement in cement-based materials and hydrogen storage device as a key enabling technology for the advancement of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.
Zenyatta continues to develop its rare igneous-hosted Albany graphite deposit in Ontario, Canada. The Company’s highly crystalline graphite deposit is a fluid-derived (volcanic style) which differs from the relatively common flake (sedimentary style) of graphite deposits. Albany is the largest and only graphite project of its kind in the world. Zenyatta discovered this extremely rare (volcanic type) graphite deposit while exploring for Copper-Nickel in 2011-12. The unusual geologic mode of formation accounts for favourable purity, crystallinity & particle size of graphite found in the Albany deposit. Dr. Andrew Conly (Professor, Geology @ Lakehead University) observed, “Evidence has shown that Zenyatta has discovered a unique sub-class of a hydrothermal graphite deposit unlike any other. Igneous breccia-hosted graphite deposits like Albany are very rare, and to the best of my knowledge, none are currently being mined or even in an advanced stage of exploration globally. The far more common flake type (sedimentary) graphite deposits form through a completely different geological process.”
The Albany graphite deposit is situated 30 km north of the Trans-Canada Highway, power line and natural gas pipeline near the communities of Constance Lake First Nation and Hearst. A rail line is located 70 km away with an all-weather road approximately 10 km from the graphite deposit. The world trend is to develop products for technological applications that need extraordinary performance using ultra-high purity graphite powder at an affordable cost. Albany graphite can be upgraded with very good crystallinity without the use of aggressive acids (hydrofluoric) or high temperature thermal treatment therefore having an environmental advantage over other types of upgraded high-purity graphite material.
The outlook for the global graphite market is very promising with demand growing rapidly from new applications. It is now considered one of the more strategic elements by many leading industrial nations, particularly for its growing importance in high technology manufacturing and in the emerging “green” industries such as electric vehicle components. The application for graphitic material is constantly evolving due to its unique chemical, electrical and thermal properties. It maintains its stability and strength under temperatures in excess of 3,000°C and is very resistant to chemical corrosion. It is also one of the lightest of all reinforcing elements and has high natural lubricating abilities. Some of these key physical and chemical properties make it critical to modern industry.
Mr. Aubrey Eveleigh, P.Geo., Zenyatta’s President and CEO, is the “Qualified Person” for the purposes of National Instrument 43-101 and has reviewed, prepared and supervised the preparation of the technical information contained in this news release. Information Sources: LafargeHolcim, US Geological Survey (‘USGS’), US Environmental Protection Agency, US Department of Transportation, Freedonia Group, Marca Espana, Macleans Magazine, UCLA newsroom & personal communication with engineering firms.
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CAUTIONARY STATEMENT: This analysis does not represent a statistically large sample size. Furthermore, these positive results do not mean that Zenyatta can extract and process Albany graphite for graphite applications on an economic basis. Without a formal independent feasibility study, there is no assurance that the operation will be economic. Zenyatta has completed a Preliminary Economic Assessment regarding the Albany Project (the ‘PEA’) in support of its development work (see Zenyatta press release of 1 June 2015). The PEA is preliminary in nature, it includes inferred mineral resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves, and there is no certainty that the preliminary economic assessment will be realized. Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. This news release may contain forward looking information and Zenyatta cautions readers that forward looking information is based on certain assumptions and risk factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations of Zenyatta included in this news release. This news release includes certain “forward-looking statements”, which often, but not always, can be identified by the use of words such as “potential”, “believes”, “anticipates”, “expects”, “estimates”, “may”, “could”, “would”, “will”, or “plan”. These statements are based on information currently available to Zenyatta and Zenyatta provides no assurance that actual results will meet management’s expectations. Forward-looking statements include estimates and statements with respect to Zenyatta’s future plans, objectives or goals, to the effect that Zenyatta or management expects a stated condition or result to occur, including the expected timing for release of a pre-feasibility study, the expected uses for graphite in the future, and the future uses of the graphite from Zenyatta’s Albany deposit. Since forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and address future events and conditions, by their very nature they involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results relating to, among other things, results of metallurgical processing, ongoing exploration, project development, reclamation and capital costs of Zenyatta’s mineral properties, and Zenyatta’s financial condition and prospects, could differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements for many reasons such as, but are not limited to: failure to convert estimated mineral resources to reserves; the preliminary nature of metallurgical test results; the inability to identify target markets and satisfy the product criteria for such markets; the inability to complete a prefeasibility study; the inability to enter into offtake agreements with qualified purchasers; delays in obtaining or failures to obtain required governmental, environmental or other project approvals; political risks; uncertainties relating to the availability and costs of financing needed in the future; changes in equity markets, inflation, changes in exchange rates; fluctuations in commodity prices; delays in the development of projects; capital and operating costs varying significantly from estimates and the other risks involved in the mineral exploration and development industry; and those risks set out in Zenyatta’s public documents filed on SEDAR. This list is not exhaustive of the factors that may affect any of Zenyatta’s forward-looking statements. These and other factors should be considered carefully and readers should not place undue reliance on Zenyatta’s forward-looking statements. Although Zenyatta believes that the assumptions and factors used in preparing the forward-looking information in this news release are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on such information, which only applies as of the date of this news release, and no assurance can be given that such events will occur in the disclosed time frames or at all. Zenyatta disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, other than as required by law.