We’re here today with Mark Thompson Managing Director of Talga Resources. Recently the company achieved some high grade results from its cobalt project. Can you share some of those details.
Mark Thompson: [00:00:19] Ahmavuona is one of three projects that we’ve got with cobalt, copper and gold in them. Ahmavuona is particularly high grade a fairly early stage project so we’ve been doing a program of re assaying and doing some new drilling ourselves on on different ones.
The results of Amavuona that were very high grade were re-assayed, but we re-assayed core that wasn’t sampled before back in 2014 and when you go back to the drilling in the 80s a lot of material wasn’t assayed. So we’ve done that and we’ve discovered that the Cobalt is much more extensive than previously thought.
In some of the holes. So all three of our projects there are sort of getting advanced as it were and this was a technical success I guess you’d say with one of our new projects.
David Tasker: [00:01:04] And what is the value of these cobalt assets to your wider portfolio?
Mark Thompson: [00:01:08] Good question. We’ve owned these since 2012 when we took over Teks European assets the Swedish assets and we’ve always really liked them. I particularly to be honest always put these very highly these IOCG cobalt, copper, golds. So anyone that loves ore bodies just sees these rocks and sees their potential.
The fact that they’re within striking distance of smelters both in Sweden and in Finland we currently have Cobalt being produced from the African deposits. There’s a real development potential in these and geologically really high cobalt copper ratios and the gold as a kicker as well.
Metallurgically we’ve discovered they’re pretty good to work with. So it’s it’s a it’s a tantalising development story how far we want to take it before we do something with it is yet to be determined but what we’re doing is trying to find out what what could it be that we don’t want it, it’s not a cheap sale.
We’ve been nurturing it for a long time and we we’re sort of preparing it for where it’s going to go.
David Tasker: [00:02:12] And more recently you’ve had some great battery success.
Mark Thompson: [00:02:16] Yeah well the battery results we’ve consistently been getting since we started working on anode materials in lithium ion batteries. In this case we’ve done some work on our graphite previously then we did work on graphene.
And now we’ve put them together we’ve mixed the graphite of the graphene together and have formed a paste as it were which is what anodes made from and coated it onto battery material. Made a battery that performs about 20 percent better in capacity and is super stable like it barely drops any capacity over the cycles we’ve done over twelve hundred hours of testing.
So yeah it’s a high performance sort of product that is enabled by our graphene being mixed with the graphite and provides a really short term or I should say near term opportunity for those sorts of materials in our stage of development.
David Tasker: [00:03:05] And what is 20 percent mean in terms of a global discussion?
Mark Thompson: [00:03:11] Yeah 20 percent extra capacity means two things either you can have a battery that lasts for example 20 percent longer essentially you’d have a car that gets 20 percent more range which is massive.
And if I could go off the range a little bit here I personally feel that electric cars the marketing was that there will be in cars will be very much about range as range anxiety is a very big issue for people taking up electric cars.
So the quality of the battery and how far things like a car can go or drill and all the other products or something that’s on a grid the extra performance which is actually higher than what you can get with theoretically pure graphite is is an important selling point. And it means you’ve got a niche market an advantage.
So not looking over your shoulder it’s just the latest price’s coming out of China all the time. You’re moving into downstream relationships with bigger manufacturers. So but to get back onto what it means then you can have that high performance.
The other thing you can do is actually just have less weight so you can as you have thinner or less anode material match it up with the cathode and you usually have less material in a battery which means it weighs less which in a way will give you other benefits including increased range also.
What we’re seeing is all of those things want innovations in batteries where they’re going. It’s not about batteries of the last 20 years which have been okay but they’ve sort of reached their limits.
Mark Thompson: [00:04:31] And so to go to the next stage and get set for that that’s where we incorporate our materials and our materials are made differently. We’ve got a unique body, we process it differently. We’re producing these particles to perform better.
It’s well known actually, it’s well published why they perform better insofar as the way the lithium interpolates with this material so it’s well understood. But it’s something that’s not easily achievable for everyone because you’ve got to have that combination of factors.
So yeah we’re setting ourselves up to be a part of that battery supply chain in the short term.
David Tasker: [00:05:04] So we’ve been constantly achieving fantastic results annd I suspect now they’re starting to if not already are getting the attention of external parties funders potential battery manufacturers and the like. How is that interest growing?
Mark Thompson: [00:05:19] Yeah it is. It’s getting better. Obviously we’ve been in the graphite biz for a while so a lot of the major groups of people know about have had some sort of relationship with behind the scenes. But that’s all been in normal ranges I guess.
Where we wanted to go though was this high performance rate and more involved, more downstream and grab more value. Those groups now are starting to pay attention. The results give you that sort of prove your product. You take that extra step and you’re actually demonstrating the product rather than just meeting a spec.
So in some ways the way we choose to do it that’s where we want to work compared to others. In this case we recruited Recruit R&D this multinational group based out of Japan. And they’ve got some fantastic scientists that have got very extensive lithium ion experience especially with the market as well as the technical side.
So they actually approached us based on some results they saw and wanted to work with us on taking this stuff to market not just in Asia but also in Europe. So that was great.
And secondly I guess is the U.K. government the Faraday Challenge which is this multibillion dollar effort by the UK Government to look at the electrification of their vehicles. In the Midlands they employ about three quarters of a million people in their current car and automotive industry and all of that has to be converted from internal combustion engines to electric and so a big chunk about the battery.
So the government’s got a program running for about just under a quarter of a billion pounds of funding available for innovative companies to make advances within Europe and of course in the UK to develop that. So that Cambridge based facility in our energy division who have been working with some consortia that we’ve joined to apply for those funding.
Some of the companies we’ve joined in those consortia some small, some are big, some are very major players in the battery industry already and we’re hoping to win some of those heading into November when we can talk about them in more detail.
So the battery results actually very quickly are already starting to pay off with the relationships and the economic pathways starting to open up for us that will create a lot more value for us than just being a pure or material provider.
And the nice thing is too it’s not necessarily the graphene and the really cutting edge of the graphene technology world it actually is our graphites as well which they’ve got some unique characters. So it actually could still be quite a large chunk of volume for us without stressing things out on the sort of technology and commercial side of the cutting edge.
David Tasker: [00:07:44] Great results today. Exciting times ahead. Mark thanks for your time.