BlackEarth Minerals partners Metachem to capture Europe’s demand

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: BlackEarth Minerals has executed a Joint Venture (JV) agreement with India based Metachem Manufacturing Company to supply a material portion of all imports of Expandable Graphite into Europe.

Expansion plans being initiated to capture a greater share of world wide demand.

BlackEarth Minerals NL and Metachem have signed an Operational JV agreement, to commence plant construction and the production of Expandable Graphite with planning commenced on site selection, executive recruitment and scheduling for other logistics and development matters.

Key elements of the JV are:

  1. BlackEarth are to source, in conjunction with their Sales and Marketing partner LuxCarbon, high quality graphite concentrate for treatment for the new expandable graphite plant.
  2. Following completion of its own plant, BlackEarth will provide large and jumbo flake graphite to the JV.
  3. Each JV partner proposes a 50/50 equity and profit share arrangement with CAPEX estimated to be US$3.0 -3.5m in total.
  4. BlackEarth and LuxCarbon to provide end user and product technical advice to the Metachem operational team.
  5. BlackEarth will manage sales, marketing and the growth of sales worldwide.
  6. Estimated initial production to be 2,000 – 2,500tpa growing to 4,000tpa, with plans to materially grow production.

BlackEarth Managing Director, Tom Revy, commented: “The signing of this JV is an exciting development in the growth of our Company.
To form this JV with a world leader of Expandable Graphite production is a wonderful outcome and this event follows many months of discussions between the executive teams our two Companies.
Now that we have signed off on this JV, we will shortly move to our preferred site in India and also conclude the recruitment of senior executives in India to manage the planning, construction and development phase.
Having an offtake partner prepared to buy all initial production has also given us confidence to move forward with plant expansion plans so that we can increase production and sales over the medium term, whilst minimising operational risk.
With first year sales projected to be almost A$9m for the JV, we expect to start receiving a steady and strong cash flow during 2022 which will also contribute to the planned development of our Maniry site in Madagascar; consistent with our initial fast-track to cash flow strategy”.

Approximately 35% of expandable graphite production is processed into fire retardants. This is the single biggest end market for expandable graphite. The remaining product is processed into flexible graphite which is the precursor to a number of end products such as graphite foils for use in the automotive, EV and alternative energy sectors.

In addition to fire resistant building materials, expanded graphite is an important pre-cursor for the manufacture of flexible graphite foils and papers which provide very light weight heat dispersion and shielding properties.

The low density expanded graphite is rolled and compressed into thin flexible
sheets which provide high heat, corrosion and compression resistance. Graphite foils are incorporated in many mobile electrical devices to safely disperse heat away from the battery source.

Rapid demand growth is also forecast due to the increasing use of high energy density batteries in mobile devices.

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