“More than just a mining company”
What began as Torch River Resources Ltd in 2012, a junior mining company with claims in Canada and Sri Lanka, altered in 2013 when the company announced that it would divest itself of claims unrelated to the graphite company. They wished to focus on and become “Saint Jean Carbon (TSX-V: SJL)”, to better reflect their objectives.
The graphite sector has had ups and downs over the past couple of years; graphite or graphene preceded Lithium as the mining sector’s next big thing. It appears by all accounts and especially by graphite products, to be getting its second wind. This should help Saint Jean Carbon in the years to come.
In the early days, the focus for Saint Jean Carbon in Canada has been three properties in Quebec; Wallingford, St. Jovite and Walker. Work programs have been ongoing with those properties with Walker being the first to have testing and surveying completed. The Company’s geologist, Ms. Isabelle Robillard, P. Geo., commented: “The three graphite properties are all located in an excellent geological environment and there is an outstanding potential for significant graphite mineralization.” From these early, definitive statements, the company has developed equally as well.
With a new focus, Saint Jean continued to grow and acquire properties:
- They obtained the “Clot Property”, which is almost 300 hectares in size.
- Minmet Carbons, a supplier of raw materials to the steel, foundry and mining sectors.
- They entered into a distribution agreement with a Carbon products company named “Miluo” based in China.
The Minmet acquisition enabled Saint Jean to gain immediate revenues that would allow the company to develop and utilize the experience of an established industry leader.
The agreement with Miluo allowed for marketing, sales and distribution opportunities for synthetic graphite products in the NAFTA regions. “Miluo has been an established synthetic graphite producer since 2004 and manufactures products using proprietary and patented graphitizing processes from a 215,000 square metre (2.3 million sq. ft.) state-of-the-art facility.”
With all the pieces in place to move forward, Saint Jean received some positive news when it was announced in April of 2014 that the independent report of the graphite potential of the Walker property was significant and allowed the company to move forward with development plans at that site. This technical report is available under the Company’s profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and on the Company’s website at www.saintjeancarbon.com.
Subsequent to this landmark event, Saint Jean also acquired property in Sri Lanka through a share purchase agreement and two more properties in Canada; the “Miller East” and “Page Properties” (both mining claims of graphite). 2014 proved to be the largest year in the company’s history and the best was yet to come.
Thinking globally, in 2015 Saint Jean announced that it had signed a letter of intent with Graphenea, a Spanish company whose products were primarily, but not limited to, graphene substrates, dispersions and wafers. Other technical developments included bioelectric sensory devices, nanoporous membranes used in desalination and improving on energy storage and collection. “Saint Jean Carbon’s goal in working with Graphenea is to leverage its direct experience and contacts within the carbon and graphite sectors to expand its presence in the emerging graphene marketplace.” Their ability to align with these companies will prove useful, not only for products already in development but as proved to be true, products that Saint Jean Carbon would introduce themselves.
Further to securing a property for raw materials, gaining a marketplace for their products, and developing technologies within the company, another milestone was reached when Saint Jean announced that they had received a research grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. At the time, the funds were able to offset expenses related to their research and development program conducted at the University of Waterloo Applied Carbon Nanotechnologies Laboratory. The focus at Waterloo centered on,” creating superconducting room temperature graphene”, “using the patented sonicating method to better understand how to produce mass quantities of graphene”, and developing “greater efficiencies in lithium battery grade materials.” Shortly after this news Saint Jean immediately released news that as a result of their research efforts, they intended to file their first patent and that five more would follow. A week after the company released news of a successful filing of a patent for spherically shaped graphite designed for use in lithium ion batteries. “The spherical shape offers the best volume to area ratio and maximum materials density. All of this leads to high specific volumetric energy package, ultimately giving a better discharge and recharge rate.” Late in 2015, following interesting and very encouraging test results from Waterloo, Saint Jean received another grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to further the understanding of future applications of graphene.
The remainder of 2015 saw Saint Jean continue their progress by agreeing to acquire the Glen Almond Quartz mine in Quebec. This was a strategic move in its relation to the company’s graphite-lithium ion battery research and the patent for the carbon coating of the spherical graphite used in their batteries under development. The year ended with two big announcements. First, a commercial contract “for the design and development of advanced graphene material” which marked the company’s first revenue generation and promised further contracts in the future. Second, the completion of their diamagnetic wire prototype that has the ability to conduct energy at room temperature “with superconducting level resistance.”
This year has been just as busy and easily as substantial for Saint Jean Carbon. In February the company announced that it had sought to acquire two past producing graphite mines in Quebec; the Diamond Graphite Mine and the Bell Graphite Mine. In the spring, the company updated investors and the industry that their tests on their patented spherical shaped carbon coated graphite-lithium ion batteries “showed tremendous promise”. These types of developments should solidify Saint Jean Carbon in three aspects of their industry; raw materials, patented products, and global distribution.
The next phase in the development and sustainability of the company was confirmed in May when Saint Jean planned construction of the only full mill and finishing line in North America. “The design for each line can be scaled up easily to produce 6,800 metric tonnes per line, per year of spherically shaped, carbon-coated graphite. The primary use of the finished materials is for the Lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars. The mill design is also modular and can be set up directly at the battery manufacturing plant, eliminating over-handling, contamination, moisture fluctuations and impurity intercalation.” Based on the path the company had been following and the securement of all aspects of their business, this recent step was timely and every bit as encouraging.
To continue the development of raw material, they began yet another work program on the recently acquired Bell property and proceeded to acquire the “Wabouchi” Lithium Project in Quebec. They also added 34 claims to the “Clot” mine and the “Walker” mine. After a busy summer they released that the Electromagnetic Surveys on the Bell property was completed and that the company has received TSX.V approval on the 34 mining claims associated with Clot and Walker. This brings the graphite mining portion to over 8,100 hectares, and the lithium claims count to 81 in Quebec alone.
The fall of 2016 has shown the kind of promise that the previous years have shown, a company heading in a positive direction and securing its future along the way.
In September, scientific news from the University of Western Ontario arrived, including some groundbreaking findings that researchers had created “the first graphene that has a magnetic field – referred to as Magnetoresistance (MR). “Creating this effect at an atomic scale is a tremendous step forward in the overall research and development of the Company’s future in graphene products.” These findings will prove significant to Saint Jeans economic development, as they have the potential to be the most significant developments spanning several applications. More research news stated that Saint Jean “has produced two samples of single layer graphene (1) dispersion 20 mL, 0.1%, with pure 100mL water and (2) a 50 mg of powder. The material was produced without any chemicals or any mechanical systems that would harm the high order of carbon structure and wettability.” Not only is the company looking to extract the raw materials, but they are looking for better ways to do it. Just a few days later the company released news again from the University of Western Ontario pertaining to the successful development of hybrid graphene sheets with superconductivity. Jin Zhang, Ph.D., Associate Professor Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering University of Western Ontario said of these results, “Conventional superconductors show zero electrical resistance at low temperature, which makes them very efficient for many applications including MRI, ultrasensitive magnetic field detectors, efficient energy conduction and frictionless transportation (levitating trains). Our work of developing hybrid graphene sheets is to explore a new regime in the physics of ultra-thin superconductivity.” The results suggest an increased expansion of the already long developing list of applications for the technology and product that Saint Jean is developing. The ceiling appears to be quite high for Saint Jean Carbon.
To close out from an investor standpoint, Saint Jean Carbon is completing a framework of sustainability. One week ago the company announced that it will build, along with their “battery manufacturing partner” a “high powered, full-scale lithium-ion battery with recycled/upcycling material from an electric car power pack and the upcycled anode material.” This will be the first battery of its kind, and the significant benefit will be that “the life cycle of the raw material can be reused – greatly reducing the demand for continued mining and helping the environment significantly.” Saint Jean’s efforts are significant and admirable. They have a good base for raw materials, income starting from acquisitions and products and the most interesting aspect of this company is what their research is yielding for the future.
Saint Jean Carbon is simply an exciting company to watch.
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