Sunday, August 14, 2011

Focus Metals will be supported by the pace of research and demand for graphite and graphene

It is quite amazing when one looks at the incredible pace that researchers seem to be progressing with the research being done on graphene and its many potential uses. Some of these potential uses have progressed to the point that reportedly we should see graphene start to enter devices, that are commonly used in our day to day lives, by early next year. Nokia is virtually depending on graphene to put their company back into a leading spot in their sector of the mobile industry. There are many company's clamouring for graphene technology and the patents race seems nearly insatiable. Thompson-Reuters has an article that illustrates this quite well, http://www.ipsolutionsblog.com/?p=427.

I believe that for Focus Metals, the graphene research will undoubtedly bring the company to a level that will be at the forefront of global recognition. Although the research into potential uses of graphene has reached an incredible pace, this is something that will in all probability take time to perfect. There are some products that are destined to use graphene and should be hitting the market possibly as early as next year. I truly believe that as this research continues there will be more and more breakthroughs, which in turn will lead to more patented uses. With the joint venture that Focus Metals is involved with, this could potentially lead to an enormous area of growth within the company.

We can also expect many exciting things from Focus Metals looking forward, in regards to graphite. Graphite is a product that has been around for quite some time, but recently has started to enjoy an ever-increasing demand. This will continue in my opinion as scientists find ever more uses for graphite, and with the superiority of graphite in comparison to many of the products we traditionally used, this is not that difficult to expect. The demand for graphite has risen dramatically over the last few years, which in turn has driven prices up considerably compared to prices a decade ago.

Graphite is being implemented into many sectors currently, some of which include, steel, aluminum, automotive, chemical and glass/ceramics industries. However, manufacturers in the semiconductor, battery, solar/wind energy, environmental protection, aerospace and defense industries as well as in the nuclear energy industry also figure among the varied sectors developing an appetite for graphite.

There are a large number of company's that are avidly pursuing the evolution of graphite use, as well as constantly researching more potential uses, one company that is note-worthy is the SGL Group. This is a company that has a clear vision of just where carbon and graphite products are leading the entire globe. SGL Group - The Carbon Company - is one of the world's leading manufactures of carbon-based products. As this company continues to grow along with the increased demand for their products, it would be my opinion that Focus Metals will look towards this type of company in regards to a market for the high quality of graphite that can be supplied from the Lac Knife deposit. I will provide a link to the home page of SGL Group, and I would encourage you to view the 2 short video presentations as well as the interactive tour. I believe this will help everyone to see just how realistic it is to view graphite and graphene as the next wonder material that will change the world as we now know it, and how graphite can improve upon our quality of life.  http://www.sglgroup.com/cms/international/home/index.html?__locale=en. An example of how one industry is making a significant change towards the future of carbon useage is the joint venture between SGL Group and the automotive manufacturer BMW. http://www.bmwblog.com/2010/07/07/sgl-automotive-carbon-fibers-breaks-ground-in-moses-lake/
These are the types of advancement that will lead to an increase in demand for quality graphite, which is exactly what Focus Metals possesses, and is continuing in their efforts to bring their Lac Knife deposit into production. In my opinion this is precisely the type of demand that will equate into Focus Metals progressing towards a significant supplier of graphite on a global standing.

Another company that is equally committed to the overall use and research of carbon and graphite use is Superior Graphite. I have previously expressed that in my opinion there is the possibility of Superior Graphite becoming a source for Focus Metals to sell graphite. I continue to view this as entirely possible. Superior Graphite is also experiencing an increase in demand for carbon and graphite products, which of course in turn leads to an increase in their need for more graphite. Superior Graphite also has a team that is devoted to researching further uses of carbon and graphitic applications at each of 3 R&D facilities.  Each facility, located at a specific manufacturing site is designed to support various processing technologies and to develop new products and processes.  Superior Graphite also attended GIFA, which is basically a quartet of trade fairs, comprised of GIFA, METEC, THERMPROCESS, and NEWCAST, held once every four years in Dusseldorf, Germany, and at closing they came away quite impressed with the amount of international visitors they received at their booth. Dr. Eric Salmon from Superior Graphite,“This has been my third GIFA and this year we had more stand area than ever before", says Dr Eric Salmon of Superior Graphite from Sweden. "And that was well worth it since we experienced good approaches with our clients that may result in future business. Great!”.
It was reported that the trade fairs posted new records both in terms of exhibitors and visitors. 1,958 exhibitors from throughout the world met with 79,000 visitors from 83 countries.
graphene are only just beginning on a journey that will truly bring these products to front and center of the global stage of innovative  design and implementation. To view just how many industries are using products that Superior Graphite produce from graphite you can go to their website, http://www.superiorgraphite.com/index.php.

Boeing and Airbus are two of the main airplane manufacturers. Both have found themselves utilizing carbon and graphite in the production of their latest efforts. You might not normally think of making things out of carbon, but lately the material of the future is carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) as used in the new Boeing 787 airliner. In a whole different approach to commercial aircraft design, body sections of composites act as both skin and structure.
Meanwhile HITCO has supplied Airbus with  the delivery of the first operational ship set of the carbon fiber tail structure parts for the vertical tail plane of the Airbus A380. http://composite.about.com/cs/aerospacenews/a/bpr_hitco.htm

These are only a couple of a multitude of company's that are directly involved with graphite research and the manufacture of products that require graphite. The list of company's on a global scale would be staggering, then add to that the research being focused on graphene, and I think it should start to become much clearer just how large the graphite industry is set to become.

After examining the company's I have touched on here, this brings me to the question of, what will this do for Focus Metals. In my opinion the Lac Knife deposit, holds an enormous value for Focus Metals. Focus Metals has a slogan found directly below the company insignia on the home page of their website, this slogan speaks volumes in my opinion, "Think Graphite Today, Think Graphene Tomorrow". With plans for 25,000 tons per year over a mine life of 40 years, which has the potential to be extended considerably pending further drilling which is currently on-going, one can easily see how Focus Metals could come to be known as a world-class supplier of graphite. However, what really sets this company apart from most other graphite deposits globally, is the fact that 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. The  Lac Knife graphite property 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.

When one takes into account all the reports of  present day usage of graphite, and with the upcoming utilization of graphene, it leads to yet another question of just how much will demand grow for graphite looking forward. According to a new report issued by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., the global carbon and graphite market is set to reach $7.5 Billion dollars by 2015. That is just over 3 years from now. http://www.prweb.com/releases/carbon/graphite/prweb4545674.htm

All of these facts and forecasts have caused me to consider whether graphite and graphene will actually become the worlds next wonder material. At this time it would seem nearly inevitable, however, just how big this will really become remains to be seen. Historically we have seen what steel and plastic have done for our lives. Looking into the future is not easily done but I would have to say I have little difficulty recognizing the immense potential with a company like Focus Metals. They possess a world class deposit (which will be 43-101 compliant soon), are working diligently on off-take agreements, and they have a management team that is very committed and focused on advancing Focus Metals to the top of the list of global graphite supply companies.

For those who find Focus Metals to be of interest as a possible investment choice, I will advise you to do your own due diligence. The website for Focus Metals is a very good starting point and can be found at www.focusmetals.ca.

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

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