Leading Edge Materials Corp., Vancouver, Canada, (TSXV: LEM) (Nasdaq First North: LEMSE) (OTCQB: LEMIF) has commissioned Zenito Limited, a UK based engineering consultancy, and a range of sub-consultants to produce a Preliminary Economic Assessment study (the “PEA”) on the Woxna Graphite project.
The Company has previously completed a number of testwork programs focused on thermal purification and spheronization of the various graphite size products available in the Woxna mine concentrate in order to maximize recovery and increase the potential value of saleable products. The PEA will for the first time include the previously developed downstream processes utilizing thermal purification that could enable the Project to produce a range of ultra-high purity natural graphite products suitable for the lithium-ion battery market.
Filip Kozlowski, CEO states “With the recent launch of the European Raw Materials Alliance and an expected introduction of EU regulations later this year on sustainable raw materials for the battery industry the timing is right to demonstrate how a secure and sustainable source of natural graphite to supply the emerging European battery industry could look like in operational and financial terms.”
The Woxna Graphite Mine is one of the few graphite mines in Europe. Due to depressed market prices of traditional graphite concentrate prices production has been halted while the Company executed on research and development work on downstream value-add processing that could produce higher value graphite products for emerging high-growth industries. The electrical and thermal properties of graphite have positioned it as a critical material in growing technologies such as electrodes for lithium-ion batteries, bipolar plates for fuel cells and thermal management foils for 5G.
Natural graphite is classified as a critical raw material by the European Commission due to its economic importance to European industrial ecosystems and a high risk of supply disruptions. China has a 69% share of global natural graphite supply but more importantly makes 100% of all natural graphite anode that goes to lithium ion batteries. To reduce reliance on third countries and achieve an open strategic autonomy the European Commission recently launched an Action Plan on critical raw materials and a European Raw Materials Alliance (“ERMA”). One objective of the Action Plan on critical raw materials is to identify mining and processing projects within the EU that can be operational by 2025.
It was recently revealed that the European Commission is looking table a new EU-wide battery regulation later this year that amongst other things will ensure that raw materials used for batteries in Europe follow strict ecological and labor norms. Current graphite sources from third countries have been criticized in the past for having negative environmental and social impacts. Woxna Graphite being located in Sweden has access to low cost low carbon footprint hydropower which combined with the chosen thermal purification process for the project offers the potential to compete with global suppliers of graphite anode material by offering a minimal carbon footprint.
About Leading Edge Materials
Leading Edge Materials is a Canadian public company focused on developing a portfolio of critical raw material projects located in the European Union. Critical raw materials are determined as such by the European Union based on their economic importance and supply risk. They are directly linked to high growth technologies such as lithium-ion batteries and permanent magnets for electric motors and wind power that underpin the sustainability transition of society. The portfolio of projects includes the 100% owned Woxna Graphite mine (Sweden), Norra Karr HREE project (Sweden), Bergby lithium project (Sweden) and the 51% owned Bihor Sud Nickel Cobalt exploration alliance (Romania).
Zenito is a UK based multidisciplinary engineering consultancy specializing in the design of mineral processing plants and associated infrastructure.