Tech minerals play Talga Resources (ASX: TLG) is placed in a strong position for 2018 following successful product tests and commercial development of its graphene technology during the December quarter.
The ASX-listed company is developing a vertically integrated European-based graphite and graphene business encompassing R&D, sales and marketing, application technology and a high-volume material supply and processing chain.
During the quarter, Talga carried out successful tests of its graphene enhanced epoxy formulation and dispersion technology called Talphene.
Talphene – for which Talga has applied for a patent – can be applied across a large volume of epoxy resin products used widely in the multi-billion-dollar global coatings, battery, construction and carbon composites markets.
Key performance gains in the first round of tests included a 160% increase in tensile strength, 80% increase in abrasion resistance, and two orders of magnitude decrease in corrosion rate over zinc-rich epoxy.
The data from our battery material and coatings testwork, utilising our unique Swedish graphite ore source with in-house processing and material technologies, has started to attract industry attention – positioning the company for more lucrative downstream opportunities in the battery value chain and global coatings industry, in addition to just being a raw material supplier out of Sweden or graphene dispersions from our German pilot plant,” Talga managing director Mark Thompson said.
“Importantly, Talga’s micrographite and graphene materials are now demonstrating performance and behaviours similar to certain types of synthetic materials – presenting new product and commercialisation opportunities.”
Talga, along with independent industry organisations, are conducting further tests to improve its technology.
An epoxy composite development program was formed with respected UK-based TWI materials and research group aimed at generating prototype material and data for industry consideration and commercial partnerships, initially in aerospace.
A key partnership was also established with the battery technology arm of Japan’s Recruit R&D to jointly develop Li-ion battery materials for markets across Europe and in Asia.
Talga and Recruit will undertake advanced development of Vittangi project Li-ion battery graphite during 2018 to deliver a full technical end-user level specification of the new battery anodes. This includes investigation of the most advanced value-added processing opportunities.
Three battery R&D grants, totalling $5.1 million, were awarded to Talga and its partners from the UK government under the Faraday Challenge program – a plus A$430 million funding pool dedicated to automotive electrification to position the UK at the forefront of battery research, development and scale up of facilities.
While its primary focus is on development of graphite and graphene materials, Talga is also progressing with ongoing exploration across its mineral assets.
High grade cobalt results from re-assaying of historic diamond drillcore and previously unassayed zones from its Ahmavuoma project in Sweden were reported.
Key new intercepts included 73.1m at 0.16% Co and 0.24% Cu from 33.75m, including 22.8m at 0.34% Co and 0.13% Cu from 54m.
Sampling confirmed significant wide, high grade historic cobalt results from near surface with high grades of copper and gold by-products, such as 21m at 0.38% Co, 1.12% Cu and 0.42g/t Au from 60m.
In addition, the work extended the known mineralised zones, increasing the prospectivity and potential of Ahmavuoma.
Drill core samples from Ahmavuoma will undergo further mineralogical testwork, including preliminary metallurgy, to determine potential cobalt, copper and gold recoveries.
Meanwhile, Talga has today strengthened its research and development arm with the appointment of leading UK-based graphene technology and program manager Dr Anna Motta to head up its global graphene product research and development.
Dr Motta will be based in Cambridge with responsibilities including management of the Company’s wholly owned UK subsidiary, Talga Technologies Limited and Talga’s graphene product research and development projects globally.
In this role, she joins Talga’s internationally renowned team of graphene technologists Dr Siva Bohm, Dr Mallika Bohm and Dr Sai Shivareddy.
Talga closed the December quarter with A$13.99 million cash-in-bank, and still holds 180,115 shares in TSX Venture Exchange-listed Novo Resources Corp (TSX-V: NVO).
The stock was trading 1c, or 1.4%, higher at 73c in late afternoon trade.