Vertically integrated graphite developer BlackEarth Minerals and Indian based firm Metachem Manufacturing have signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to commence plant construction and the production of expandable graphite, with a view to complete and sign an operational Joint Venture (JV) agreement ‘within a maximum of 180 days’.
Expandable graphite is a form of intercalated graphite used for heat and fire protection in applications ranging from building materials to consumer electronics and fuel cells.
Under the terms of the MOU, BlackEarth and Metachem will invest in a new processing facility to meet demand from European based groups, with their sales and marketing partner LuxCarbon to assist with product sales to tier 1 buyers in Europe.
According to BlackEarth, estimated initial production at the new plant will be 2,000tpa (growing to 4,000tpa), with plans to develop other plants in Europe and other strategic locations.
BlackEarth Managing Director, Tom Revy, said the move will position the company as the first producer of commercial levels of expandable graphite listed on ASX.
“This is a ground breaking agreement between two companies committed to the growth and development of this important high value commodity to fuel the worldwide demand for downstream graphite products,” Mr Revy said.
“This planned production site complements our other interests in the USA and Europe, and further positions BlackEarth as a leading provider of graphite concentrate and a range of downstream graphite products over the forthcoming decades.
“Our partner in Europe (LuxCarbon) will play an instrumental role in this development as we, with their support, plan to sell this highly valued product to a range of existing and new buyers in developing and growth markets throughout Europe.”