Beowulf is pleased to announce that the Company’s wholly owned Finnish subsidiary Grafintec Oy (“Grafintec”) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) with Thermal & Material Engineering Center (“TMEC”) from Ukraine to establish a joint venture technology company (“JV”).
TMEC has developed proprietary state-of-the-art purification technology, a continuous thermal process which consumes significantly less energy than conventional commercially available thermal solutions and eliminates the need of hazardous chemicals when purifying graphite.
Grafintec and TMEC are seeking to apply the technology to both natural flake and secondary sources of graphite, in conjunction with Grafintec’s graphite anode materials plant (“GAMP”) development in the GigaVaasa area. In parallel, the first stage of process design work and Pre-Feasibility Study (“PFS”) for the GAMP being undertaken by RB Plant Construction Ltd. (“RB Plant”) for Grafintec will conclude in May 2023.
Key Terms of the MoU
The Parties have agreed to collaborate through the development of a European technology company for the supply under licence of commercial processing technology services to natural and synthetic graphite producers (including secondary sources of graphite), for the provision of commercial testing services to graphite producers, and for the supply of engineering and design activities for the technology, under commercial agreements within the battery market supply chain.
Under the proposed JV, Grafintec will own 51 per cent of the JV and TMEC will own 49 per cent of the JV.
Both Parties have agreed to work exclusively with each other related to the use of the technology in the battery markets supply chain. Grafintec will have the exclusive right to progress the formation of a JV with TMEC, provided that certain terms set out in the MoU are met.
European Critical Raw Materials Act
On 16 March 2023, the European Commission published the ‘European Critical Raw Materials Act’. The Commission proposes a comprehensive list of actions for the EU to access a secure, diversified, affordable, and sustainable supply of Critical Raw Materials such as Natural Graphite to enable the green transition and reduce its dependency on supply from certain countries.
Some of the more important actions includes simplifying and streamlining the permitting process for Critical Raw Materials projects in the EU including access to financial support and shorter permitting timeframes for strategic mining, processing, and recycling projects.
Rasmus Blomqvist, Managing Director of Grafintec, commented:
“We are excited to be working with TMEC on incorporating their technology into our plans for sustainable anode materials production in the GigaVaasa area.
“Testwork has shown that TMEC’s purification technology in our commercial plant design could deliver a step change in process performance, when considering cost and sustainability factors.
“As the demands from battery manufacturers for low cost and low carbon solutions increases, it is our objective to ensure the JV company will be a leader in the market.
“Given the forecast market growth for Lithium-Ion Batteries and the lack of commercial production of graphite anodes in Europe, the ‘European Critical Raw Materials Act’ should focus the EU’s efforts on strengthening its regional raw material supply chains and presents a unique window of opportunity for Grafintec to establish itself in the graphite anode space.”
European Lithium-Ion Battery and Graphite Anode Market
Currently graphite, either natural or synthetic, counts for approximately 95 per cent of the anode market and due to its cost-performance ratio it will remain the material of choice for anodes for the next decade. The World Bank has said graphite demand will increase by 500 per cent between 2018 and 2050, while the global graphite market is expected to reach US$21.6 billion. In Europe the graphite anode market is expected to grow even faster with an expected growth rate by more than eight times from a current level of 162,000 tonnes to 1.3 million tonnes of graphite anodes by 2030 (Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, March 2023). Geopolitical tensions, the European Green Transition, and a focus on sustainable and secure supply-chains, as well as self-sufficiency, has led countries to re-assess their overreliance on Chinese supply of strategic materials including graphite.
Source: London Stock Exchange