Thursday, June 16, 2011

Focus Metals is well positioned to take advantage of the worlds newest graphene discoveries

Focus Metals (TSXV:FMS) is well positioned to take advantage of the strong rise in the demand for high quality graphite. What makes this company really stand-out in this market is the enormous amount of research currently being conducted on graphene. Graphite has many known uses in today's world, and with little exploration for a number of years, due to the fact that the market had been saturated with lower priced graphite, the global supply of graphite has become such that demand has overtaken supply. This situation is not expected to improve in the near term, but is in fact expected to continue to worsen. Obviously this bodes well for Focus Metals and their Lac Knife project in Quebec, Canada.

Now if we think that Focus Metals possesses a valuable property in terms of the 8.1M tons of graphite, then let us stop and consider what the current flood of research can and will do for the value of Focus Metals. The first mention of the possibility of graphene was made quite a number of years ago now, but it was not to raise interest until 2004, when Andre Geim and his colleague Kostya Novoselov discovered a substance called graphene. Here is a link which will give you some background to the two who discovered graphene. This is courtesy of
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You may note at the end of this article, that there is a quote by Andre Geim that gives a clear indication of just how profound graphene will become. This is not just another scientific "fad" but is rather a product that will, as some have claimed, change the world we live in. There is the old expression of the tip of the ice-berg, and when related to graphene it is exactly that. Research has so far to go in so many areas to understand just what and how graphene can and will be implemented into, in regards to products that we use on a daily basis. However even though we are watching graphene in its infancy, graphene is progressing by leaps and bounds. This is due to the advanced stage of technology and equipment available to researchers of today. To say that graphene is the latest and biggest rage in the world of scientific research, would be to make a gross understatement.

Many people have proclaimed graphene capable of taking over from silicon in the world of circuitry and nanocircuitry, while there are of course those who claim it is years away from becoming a reality, if indeed it can even be considered a replacement. As evidenced by the tremendous push into a near unprecedented amount of research being undertaken, and into so many possible uses for graphene, one almost needs to follow the updates on a daily basis. An example of this would be found in this article from UnderstandingNano.com, which discusses a possible breakthrough that some researchers have made, in regards to overcoming some of the pitfalls, previously encountered in trying to use graphene in substitution of silicon. http://www.understandingnano.com/graphene-thermochemical-nanolithography.html

How many of us today enjoy the ultra-thin and electricity-saving organic light diodes, or so-called OLED's. Well it is most likely most of us I'm sure. OLED's have been recently been introduced commercially into applications with mobile phones, cameras, and super-thin TV's. While OLED's contribute nicely to the devices we use daily they also have some drawbacks. These drawbacks can be overcome by replacing indium with graphene. The research that led to this has also uncovered other possible uses which are discussed in this article from UnderstandingNano.com. http://www.understandingnano.com/graphene-light.html

The above mentioned research and uses for graphene stand to help Focus Metals to realize a significant profit from their Lac Knife property. Now let's take a look at an area where graphene is not only drawing attention in terms of research, but also stands to possibly pave the way to finding new cures for any number of diseases that until now have proven to be deadly in many cases and in which no cure has been found to-date. Researchers have devised a way to use graphene with DNA, and by the reports so far it looks quite promising. Here is an article by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which is a US Department of Energy lab. Research done at this facility and also in conjunction with Princeton University has led to this article, http://www.pnl.gov/news/release.aspx?id=794. The scope of where this type of research can lead is at the least life altering for many.

 The concept of a single atomic layer of crystalline material is easy enough to grasp, yet creating such a layer was not achieved until 2004, when two scientists, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoslov, demonstrated the existence of a single atomic layer of carbon called graphene. This discovery was followed by a flurry of research activities, with the proposal of several applications for defense and commercial products. Through its support of several multidisciplinary research initiatives and DARPA-funded programs during the past three years, the U.S. Dept. of Defense has also indicated the importance of graphene for its military applications. There are several technologies that stand to benefit from graphene in the near future. Here is a link to an article from Raytheon that goes into more detail.  http://www.raytheon.com/technology_today/2011_i1/special2.html

So where does all this leave Focus Metals? I would suggest that Focus Metals is extremely well positioned to benefit from this huge influx into the research of graphene, and this is based on many factors. Focus Metals has what has been described as a world class graphite deposit at Lac Knife, which is located in Quebec, Canada. Canada is very stable from a political stance, and Quebec has been referred to as one of the world's most mining friendly areas. With 8.1MT of graphite, this company stands to gain much in terms of value. Not only does Focus Metals possess 8.1MT of graphite, but they also have something that many people do not seem to consider, and that is the Factor 17 aspect. Factor 17 is in reference to the carbon content, which in many, if not all graphite deposits globally, are reported to be in the 2% to 5% range. Lac Knife has shown from historical data that the carbon content is on average 17% carbon content. This equates into massive profit levels for Focus Metals since the size of the deposit is quite big, the grade is one of the highest grades known, and the graphite is quite suitable to purify to a point of over 99% pure. This is important since this type of purity, is what is required to be of use, in the high technology applications. The price of large flake graphite which is 95% pure is currently approximately $2500 to $3000 per ton. The $10M  that Focus Metals is planning on spending, as an addition to the mill, is to further process the graphite to bring it to 99% or higher. This is what is required to obtain graphene, and as such goes for as much as $50000 per ton. This compared to the cost of retrieving the graphite, which has been estimated at this point, to be approximately $350 per ton.

This makes it easy to see the huge potential with Focus Metals, and even more so, when we consider the joint venture entered into in regards to graphene. Focus Metals announced March 2, 2011 that the company had formed a joint venture to develop graphene technologies. Focus Metals has details on their website, http://www.focusmetals.ca/news-focus-metals/mar2-graphene-technologies.html.

For those interested in Focus Metals, everyone should do their own due diligence. Focus Metals' company website can be located at www.focusmetals.ca, and is a likely place to start.
For the purpose of disclosure I have received no compensation of any kind for this post. I do own shares in Focus Metals.

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