Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Graphite and Graphene - The backbone of Focus Metals

Currently the world is experiencing a tremendous surge in the demand for graphite. This appears to not only be a trend that will be sustainable but seems that it will most certainly continue to grow for the foreseeable future. Of course, as with all things, the supply and demand factors play a huge part in the setting of prices.

Many people are asking why the seemingly sudden increase in graphite demand. This seems like a rather simple question to answer but in fact there are a variety of answers that collectively lead to the increase in demand. Definitely the fact that China has control over approximately 80% of the global supply of graphite at present, coupled with the fact that they have imposed limits on the amount of graphite they are prepared to export, has undoubtedly had a significant impact. It is also becoming realized that the amount of global supply has continually diminished. This played a large part in China's decision to ensure they retained enough graphite supply for their own domestic use as their economic growth continues at a record level. This growth, which is being witnessed in several areas of the world besides China, has led to an enormous need for steel. As more and more people are buying automobiles and building, the amount of steel required continues to grow. This affects graphite since a considerable amount of graphite is used in refractories. Natural graphite is used mostly in what are called refractory applications. Refractory applications are those that involve extremely high heat and therefore demand materials that will not melt or disintegrate under such extreme conditions. One example of this use is in the crucibles used in the steel industry. Such refractory applications account for the majority of the usage of graphite. It is also used to make brake linings, lubricants, and molds in foundries. A variety of other industrial uses account for the remaining graphite consumed each year.

As we can see there are a number of uses that graphite has in our world today. As technology advances, we are coming up with more and more ingenius applications. Take for instance the researchers from Rice University, who have used graphite to produce a "super-sand." This might not sound like a life-changing product, however, for many people it has the potential to be just that. So called super-sand is regular sand that has been coated with nanosheets of graphite. The point of all this, is to allow people to have access to safe drinking water, in areas where this is not something that is available currently. http://inhabitat.com/rice-university-uses-graphite-to-make-water-filtering-super-sand/. To think that one out of eight people does not have access to safe drinking water in today's world is difficult to fathom, especially for those of us who happen to take this luxury for granted.

Actually the list goes on, and I feel confident it will continue to grow as research continues to find ever-more applications for graphite. All of this truly leads us to the realization that graphite definitely seems poised to become the next product that will define the world. Steel had a similar effect, as did plastic, and now seems to be the perfect time for graphite to enter the world. I anticipate many new discoveries to come from graphite research.

The research of graphite has already led to the discovery of graphene, and this is almost beyond words, where this could take our lives and the world as we know them. The amount of research currently being conducted on graphene is virtually unlimited. There are few university, corporate, and government labs around the globe that are not researching some possible application for graphene. If we think that graphite is cause for excitement, graphene only magnifies this many fold. http://www.techradar.com/news/world-of-tech/graphene-the-miracle-material-explained-968797
This article is by Gary Marshall in Techradar.com, and as is stated near the end, that many of these potential uses are still in research mode as of yet. However, it was not that long ago that Nokia and Samsung started the research that has led to Nokia reporting, they expect to introduce a product based on this research of graphene. Andre Geim, one of the scientists awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics just last year, is reported saying to Nature, "Nokia banks on graphene for future tech". This should help us to more clearly see that not only is graphene causing a huge stir in the global community, but is also starting to breakout of the research labs and into our lives. This will only continue and at an accelerated pace in my opinion.

This is an exciting time to be living in, what with all the limitless possibilities of graphite and graphene. What I find just as exciting is that there is access to this market through a company known as Focus Metals (TSXV:FMS)(OTCQX:FCSMF). Focus Metals owns one of the worlds purest graphite deposits called Lac Knife. Lac Knife is situated in Quebec, Canada, which happens to be probably the most stable mining area in the world. The Lac Knife deposit has a proven history. Nearly developed in the early 2000’s in a joint venture between Graftech International and Ballard Power Systems, previous studies are being recast to NI 43-101 standards.
The Lac Knife property is unique in the world because of its cost-mitigating, high concentration (some 17% in pre-NI 43-101 terms) of large, medium and small flake graphite destined to meet rising global demand from both industrial and high technology end users.
A 17% carbon content means Focus Metals will have the most competitively priced technology graphite in the world.
extendable mine life. http://www.focusmetals.ca/global-operations/lac-knife
Early indications from our consultant preparing our 43-101 resource calculation are that we shall see no inconsistencies or variations from previous non-43-101 estimates that our property contains a 17% pure carbon content.
We recently filed those indications with the securities regulator.
With supplies continuing to become tighter globally, and forecasts that the demand will continue to grow in the coming years, it is not difficult to see almost unimaginable potential with Focus Metals. Another aspect that could potentially take Focus Metals, to a level that would be described as a global leader in this space, is the fact that they have announced a joint venture  to develop, patents and secure global rights for applications of graphene technologies. http://www.focusmetals.ca/news/press-releases/2011-2/feb232011
The potential of this joint venture is something that could surpass many if not all expectations. Add to this that Focus Metals' treasury is flush with money at present. http://www.focusmetals.ca/news/press-releases/2011-2/may122011
 Management has stated that several possible acquisitions are possible as the company strives to position themselves as a major in the graphite and graphene space.

As you can see there is more than ample reason to view Focus Metals as a desirable investment choice. For those who agree, I would suggest that you do your own due diligence, and an excellent place to start is the company's new website. If you have looked at this company in the past, I am sure you will be impressed with the newest addition to the company. The link for Focus Metals is http://www.focusmetals.ca/.

For disclosure purposes I have received no compensation of any kind for this post. I do own shares in Focus Metals.

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