Beowulf (AIM: BEM; Spotlight: BEO), is pleased to provide an update on the progress being made by the Company’s wholly owned Finnish subsidiary Grafintec Oy (“Grafintec”) and its plans to establish a Graphite Anode Materials Plant (“GAMP”) in Finland.
Pre-Feasibility Study Awarded
Grafintec has awarded a Pre-feasibility Study (“PFS”) contract to the UK based RB Plant Construction Ltd. (“RB Plant”) to assess the technical, economic, statutory, regulatory and commercial options for a natural flake graphite micronisation, spheronisation, purification, and coating plant in Finland.
The study will investigate the Best Available Technology (“BAT”) with consideration for environmental, operational and financial factors and performance, for transforming a high-grade natural flake graphite concentrate to graphite anode material suitable for the European Lithium-Ion Battery (“LIB”) market opportunities.
The PFS is a key part of Grafintec`s strategy to develop a Finnish value chain for anode materials production, aligned with the objectives of the funding received from Business Finland as part of the BATCircle2.0 (Finland-based Circular Ecosystem of Battery Metals) consortium. BATCircle2.0 is a key project in Business Finland’s Smart Mobility and Batteries from Finland programmes.
Grafintec has received interest from and is progressing discussions with several industrial sites in Finland, including the GigaVaasa area. Grafintec is focusing on sites with access to 100 per cent renewable energy, well developed infrastructure, plot area with room for expansion, as well as possible synergies with other industries as part of a sustainable ecosystem.
Finnish Graphite Anode Value Chain
The development of downstream capabilities is a key part of Grafintec’s strategy and following the announcement on 26 September 2022 on signing a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) with Qingdao Hensen Graphite Ltd (“Hensen”), the collaboration between the companies has proceeded with regards to establishing an anode materials hub in Finland.
To support a sustainable graphite anode value chain in Finland, Grafintec continues to focus on expanding its resource footprint; with recently announced encouraging results from its 100 per cent owned Rääpysjärvi natural flake graphite exploration project located just eight kilometres north-northwest of the Company’s most advanced natural flake graphite project Aitolampi.
The Company will evaluate possible operational synergies for future development of the two sites, given their proximity, such as shared processing infrastructure. The aim is to provide a secure local and sustainably produced feed for downstream processing facilities, leveraging renewable power across and targeting Net Zero CO2 emissions (“Net Zero”) across the supply chain.
While the development of primary raw materials supply takes more time to permit in Finland, the Company has other initiatives to secure supply, both natural flake graphite and recycled graphite, to feed downstream processing in the short term.
In May last year, Grafintec signed an MoU with Dominik Georg Luh Technografit GmbH (“Technografit”), establishing the basis for a commercial partnership for securing sustainable supply of natural flake graphite for Grafintec’s planned graphite anode materials plant; samples are now being tested by Hensen and processed to anode material. Also, the Company has test work programmes on recycled graphite containing waste to assess whether it can be processed to suitable feedstock for anode materials production.
European Graphite Anode Market
The LIB market is predicted to grow exponentially, reaching a demand of more than 1,200 tonnes per annum of graphite anodes by 2031 in Europe only (Benchmark Mineral Intelligence July 2022). Currently there is no commercial production of graphite anodes in Europe and with all graphite anode materials imported from Asia, it puts a pressure on European LIB manufacturers and car industries to secure a sustainable supply-chain to enable the green transition. While a number of European graphite anode materials projects are under planning, it is clear that it will be a shortfall of local supply in years to come.
Kurt Budge, Chief Executive Officer of Beowulf, commented:
“Grafintec made significant progress in 2022, as the Company continued to focus on downstream opportunities, partnering with Hensen, developing plans for anode materials production in Finland, and delivering exploration success.
“We have a lot we want to achieve in 2023 and have had a strong start to the year; we have awarded the PFS for the GAMP, we are advancing our work with Hensen, including test work on Aitolampi concentrate to produce anode material, and we have plans to optimise the Aitolampi Scoping Study in the context of our downstream ambitions.
“I look forward to providing further updates on our progress.”
Beowulf Mining’s 100 per cent owned subsidiary Grafintec is recognised in Finland as one of the main companies in the anode space and continues to be supported by Business Finland, the Finnish governmental organization for innovation funding and investments.
The Company’s most advance natural flake graphite project, Aitolampi, has an Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource of 26.7 Mt at 4.8 per cent TGC for 1,275,000 tonnes of contained graphite (see announcement 30 October 2019), possessing almost perfect crystallinity, an important prerequisite for high tech applications such as lithium-ion batteries. The Mineral Resource was estimated by CSA Global of Australia in accordance with the JORC Code, 2012 Edition. In addition to Aitolampi, the Company has other graphite exploration prospects, including Rääpysjärvi.
On 26 September Beowulf announced signing of a MoU with Qingdao Hensen Graphite Ltd. that includes an agreed framework and key terms on which both companies are collaborating with regards to establishing an anode materials hub in Finland.
In 2021, Grafintec was granted EUR 791,000 funding by Business Finland as part of the BATCircle2.0 (Finland-based Circular Ecosystem of Battery Metals) consortium. The funding will be used to develop a sustainable technological solution, utilizing renewable energy, to spheronise and purify graphite within a Finnish industrial ecosystem, for use in the manufacture of lithium-ion battery anodes.
The project has three objectives, which are to:
- Validate a process to support progress to a Bankable Feasibility Study for construction of a commercial scale unit within three to five years.
- Secure and protect any arising intellectual property.
- Deliver a detailed strategic marketing and commercialisation plan.
About RB Plant:
Founded by Richard Bishop in 1969, RB Plant is a dynamic, innovative yet long-established multi-disciplinary engineering group that still holds true to its original core values of integrity, innovation, communication, and value-adding contributions to clients’ businesses.
RB Plant provide professional engineering consultancy, design, project, and construction management services across a wide range of sectors from Pharmaceuticals to Heavy Engineering applying vision, purpose, and cutting-edge expertise. RB Plant undertake every stage of a project lifecycle from initial conception to commissioning, both globally and within the UK.