New board advances Albany Graphite project
Zenyatta Ventures applies for bulk sample removal
A new board of directors elected following a successful proxy battle is shaking things up at Zenyatta Ventures Ltd., a Thunder Bay-based exploration company that owns the Albany Graphite project near Hearst and the Constance Lake First Nation in northeastern Ontario.
The company has applied to the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines for permission to collect a 990 tonne bulk sample that will provide it with 40 tonnes of pure graphite, much of which will be converted into graphene and graphene oxide for end user evaluation and product development.
Discovered in 2004, graphene is a thin flake of carbon just one atom thick. Unique because of its strength and ability to conduct heat, it can be infused in concrete, plastic, aluminum, resins and rubber to make them stronger, lighter, and both thermally and electrically conductive. According to Dr. Francis Dubé, a board member and head of business development and technology, it’s worth between $1,200 and $6,000 an ounce.
Zenyatta’s high purity graphite has been found to exfoliate into graphene easier than most other sources of graphite and has been tested by researchers in Japan, Israel, the UK, Canada and the U.S. for a wide variety of applications.
The company’s goal, said Dubé, is to build a processing facility for the conversion of graphite into graphene.
Tired of waiting for the previous board of Zenyatta Ventures to advance the project, dissident shareholders replaced four directors, including president Aubrey Eveleigh, with proxy battle leaders Dubé, Brian Bosse and Eric Wallman at a special meeting in Toronto May 11th. Since then, the board has been fortified with the addition of Don Bubar, president and CEO of Avalon Advanced Materials, Frank Klees, a former cabinet minister and Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and Greg Fenton, a chartered financial analyst with a Bay Street career spanning 30 years.
Two incumbent board members – Brett Richards and Brian Davey – resigned during the summer.
With the treasury virtually depleted, the new board raised $712,000 in a private placement and moved quickly to hire two new consultants to head up sales and research outreach. A project manager was re-engaged to oversee metallurgical process testwork and former vice-president of market development Dr. Bharat Chahar will serve on its advisory board along with Don Hains, an industrial minerals economics and marketing specialist.
According to Dubé, the company hopes to get started on a pre-feasibility study and environmental assessment in the near future, but may decide to first update a preliminary economic assessment, which predated the successful testing of a new purification process resulting in higher recoveries and revenues from a growing graphene market.
Recoveries improved from 75.4 per cent achieved in the 2014-2015 testwork to approximately 90 per cent. Further testwork began in July at SGS Canada in Lakefield, Ontario, to collect engineering data for the next technical report.
Zenyatta shares traded at a high of $4.87 in July 2013, but fell to a low of 42 cents by April. On August 2, 2018, they were trading at 59 cents.