Focus Metals Inc.

Graphite has played an important role in human existence since the dawn of civilization when it was used to create paint. Today, it is a high-tech component for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner; used in castings for surgical instruments and industrial metal production, and; a core component of lithium-ion batteries, among a host of other widespread applications.

“And the world-changing possibilities for newly discovered graphene for industrial, communications, computing, military and medical applications appear to be endless, said Focus Metals President and CEO Gary Economo.

Focus Metals is an Ottawa-based mining developer with two high technology source properties in Quebec – its Lac Knife graphite and its Kwyjibo rare earths (mainly neodymium) and copper resources.

Lac Knife’s historic graphite grading of 17 percent leaves it head and shoulders above any other global producer in terms of quality and cost competitiveness, Mr. Economo said.

He said that when you consider the global average yield from a graphite deposit is less than a 4 percent grade per ton, the cost advantages for Focus Metals are enormous. “That basically makes us the world’s cost leader in the production of technology-grade graphite,” he says, adding that some 80 percent of Lac Knife’s total resource of 8.1 million tons is destined for technology use.

“In cost-price terms, the commercial implication of our particular graphite resource is that we dominate all other suppliers. We can weather any future price shocks should China, for example, decide to flood the market with additional capacity,” Mr. Economo says.

The original discovery at Lac Knife was made about 25 years ago. At the time, Chinese producers of graphite had driven down prices and forced the Lac Knife development to lay dormant.

In the early 2000s, however, a group including U.S. giant GrafTech International and Ballard Power Systems chose Lac Knife’s graphite for its hydrogen fuel cells. Unfortunately, the project dissolved and Lac Knife was eventually sold to IAMGOLD. Focus Metals acquired the property for cash and shares after IAMGOLD declared graphite mining fell outside its gold mining portfolio.

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“As it turns out, in the last couple of years, graphite became very popular,” Mr. Economo said. “The need for graphite is growing exponentially.”

The global surge in demand for lithium-ion batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles, touch screens for smart phones and other mobile devices makes graphite highly desirable because of its heat-dissipating properties.

Graphite also is used as a heat moderator for nuclear reactors, nose cones for guided missiles and is now being used almost exclusively for the fuselage and wing components for a new generation of ultra-light corporate jets.

Focus Metals is the only junior mining developer in the world with an innovative, mine-to-market business model employing its own technologies to reduce production costs for both graphite and for graphene, the wonder material leading the next technology revolution.

Focus Metals’ graphene development joint venture, Grafoid Inc., has developed a graphene mass production process in the laboratory using graphene extracted directly from Lac Knife’s high purity graphite ore. The company is currently patenting the process and expects first revenues from sales in 2012.

“We are unique in the world. We hold the highest grade flake graphite resource in the world and we’re currently moving towards mass production of graphene from our graphite source,” Mr. Economo stressed.