The Company trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol NGC and on the OTCBB under the symbol "NGPHF".
Reports: Bissett Creek NI 43-101 Technical Report May 17, 2011 PR- Drill Hole Location Map May 17, 2011 PR- Complete Table of Drill Results
What is Graphite?:
raphite and diamonds are the only two naturally formed polymers of carbon. Graphite is essentially a two dimensional, planar crystal structure whereas diamonds are a three dimensional structure. Graphite is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity and has the highest natural strength and stiffness of any material. It maintains its strength and stability to temperatures in excess of 3,600°C and is very resistant to chemical attack. At the same time it is one of the lightest of all reinforcing agents and has high natural lubricity.
What is graphite used for?
Traditional demand for graphite is largely tied to the steel industry where it is used as a liner for ladles and crucibles, as a component in bricks which line furnaces ("refractories"), and as an agent to increase the carbon content of steel. In the automotive industry it is used in brake linings, gaskets and clutch materials. Graphite also has a myriad of other uses in batteries, lubricants, fire retardants, and reinforcements in plastics.
Industrial demand for graphite has been growing at about 5 per cent per annum for most of this decade due to the ongoing industrialization on China, India and other emerging economies. However, the "blue sky" for the graphite industry is the incremental demand that will be created by a number of green initiatives including Li ion batteries, fuel cells, solar energy, semi conductors, and nuclear energy. Many of these applications have the potential to consume more graphite that all current uses combined.
The market for graphite exceeds one million tonnes per year ("Mtpy") of which 60% is amorphous and 40% flake. Only flake graphite which can be upgraded to 99.9% purity is suitable for making Li ion batteries. The graphite market is almost as large as the nickel market (1.3 Mtpy), far larger than the markets for magnesium (429 Mtpy), molybdenum (180 Mtpy) or tungsten (55 Mtpy), and more than 50 times the size of the lithium or rare earth markets.
How is graphite priced?
Like uranium, there is a posted price for graphite which provides a guideline with respect to longer term trends but transactions are largely based on direct negotiations between the buyer and seller. Graphite prices are also a function of flake size and purity with large flake (+80 mesh), 94% carbon varieties commanding premium pricing. Prices exceeded US$1,300/t in the late 80s but crashed to US$600-750t in the 90s as Chinese producers dumped product on the market. During this period there was essentially no exploration and as a result there are very few projects in the development pipeline.
Graphite prices did not start to recover until 2005 and have well surpassed US$1,300/t with premium product rumored to be selling at up to $3,000/t as the supply of large flake, high carbon graphite is tight. Price appreciation is largely a function of the commodity super cycle and the industrialization of emerging economies as new, high growth applications such as Li ion batteries are only beginning to have an impact on demand and consumption. Graphite prices have still not yet experienced the price appreciation of other commodities and graphite must still be considered an overlooked and undervalued commodity in the context of the current super cycle.
The China Syndrome
China produces over 70 per of the world's graphite supply. Approximately 70% of Chinese production is lower value fine or amorphous graphite while 30% is flake. China does produce some large flake graphite but the majority of its flake graphite production is very small in the +200 mesh range.
China was responsible for the large decline in graphite prices in the 90s as a substantial amount of product was dumped on the market. This is unlikely to be repeated due to the phenomenal growth in the Chinese domestic steel industry which internally consumes a great deal of graphite. Furthermore, Chinese graphite is declining in quality and costs are increasing due to the effects of high grading, the fact that mines are getting deeper and older, and to tightening labor and environmental standards.
The majority of Chinese graphite mines are small and many are seasonal. Easily mined surface oxide deposits are being depleted and mining is now moving into deeper and higher cost deposits. China now has a 20% export duty on graphite, as well as a 17% VAT, and has instituted an export licensing system. China also hasd a strategy of keeping value added processing in country. As a result, production and exports are expected to decline and graphite now shares the same supply concerns as the rare earth elements. Both the Eurporean Union and the USA have named graphite a supply critical mineral. There is only one North American mine which commenced production in 1990 with a 14 year mine life. It has now exceeded 20 years of operation and its future is uncertain at best.
Graphite in Lithium Ion Batteries
Li ion batteries are smaller, lighter and more powerful than traditional batteries. They also have no memory effect and a very low rate of discharge when not in use. As a result, most portable consumer devices such as laptops, cell phones, MP3 players and digital cameras use Li ion batteries and they have now moved into power tools as well. While this market is growing rapidly, the batteries are small and the resultant demand for metal is relatively small. Graphite demand in Lithium ion batteries was estimated at 44,000 tonnes in 2008 or about 10 per cent of the flake market.
However, Li ion batteries are now being used in hybrid electric vehicles ("HEV"), plug in electric vehicles ("PEV") and all electric vehicles ("EV") where the batteries are large and the potential demand for graphite very significant. While this has created a great deal of excitement in the lithium industry, the investment community is only now beginning to focus on other materials used in Li ion batteries and by weight, graphite is the second largest component. In fact, there is more than 10 times more graphite than lithium, in a lithium ion battery. Graphite is in a much stronger position than lithium carbonate as it is the anode material of choice for most battery designs. The anode requires a porous carbon material and graphite is the optimum suitor.
There are 2-3 10 kgs of graphite in the average HEV and 25-50 kgs in an EV. President Obama's target is to have one million EVs on the road in the US alone by 2015. In a recent research report Canaccord estimated that incremental Li carbonate demand from Li ion batteries will reach 286,000 tonnes by 2020. That will require a six fold increase in annual flake graphite production to provide material for that many batteries.
Only flake graphite which can be upgraded to 99.9% purity can be used to make the "spherical" or "potato" shaped graphite used in Li ion batteries. The process is expensive and wastes 70% of the feedstock flake graphite. As a result, spherical graphite currently sells for between $4-6,000/tonne or twice the price of high quality flake graphite.
Almost all Li ion battery manufacturing currently takes place in Asia. However, it has become a very big priority for the Obama administration due to the decline in the US domestic car industry. The recent congressional stimulus bill includes tens of billions of dollars in loans, grants, and tax incentives for battery and HEV research and manufacture to jump-start US industry. Michigan has awarded $544M in tax credits to four Li ion battery companies with plans to invest more than $1.7 billion in manufacturing facilities. A123 Systems, which designs and manufactures Li ion batteries and systems, raised $428.3 MM in an over-subscribed IPO on NASDAQ in September 2009.
Lithium Ion Battery
Battery Electric Vehicle
Graphite in Fuel Cells
While batteries store electrical energy for subsequent use, fuel cells also generate electricity through chemical reactions and therefore need to be periodically "refueled". Fuel cells can be used in both stationary and mobile applications and use substantially more graphite than lithium ion batteries. Fuel cells produce little or no waste products and are very quiet, eliminating noise pollution. They have no moving parts and are long lasting, low maintenance and reliable. Fuel cells are also much more efficient than combustion engines in converting fuel to energy.
According to fuelcells.org "there are many uses for fuel cells right now and all of the major automakers are working to commercialize a fuel cell car. Fuel cells are powering buses, boats, trains, planes, scooters, forklifts, even bicycles. There are fuel cell-powered vending machines, vacuum cleaners and highway road signs. Miniature fuel cells for cellular phones, laptop computers and portable electronics are on their way to market. Hospitals, credit card centers, police stations, and banks are all using fuel cells to provide emergency power to their facilities. Wastewater treatment plants and landfills are using fuel cells to convert the methane gas they produce into electricity. Telecommunications companies are installing fuel cells at cell phone, radio and 911 towers."
According to the United States Geological Survey, fuel cells have the potential to consume as much graphite as all other uses combined. There are a number of different types of fuel cell under development although the proton exchange membrane technology ("PEM") is the only one that uses large quantities of graphite and could create significant demand for graphite. However, the US Department of Energy suggests that PEM cells are the most likely to be developed for use in light vehicles, buildings and smaller applications. Some auto manufacturers are stating that fuel cells vehicles will be commercial by 2012 while Toyota states that "it sees a clear path to commercial production by 2015."
Fuel Cell Design (www.scientific-computing.com)
Bi polar plates, which are a major component of fuel cells, are made from medium to coarse, high purity flake graphite.
Fuel Cell Basics
Graphite in Pebble Bed Nuclear Reactors
A Pebble Bed Nuclear Reactor ("PBMR") is a small, modular nuclear reactor. The fuel is uranium imbedded in graphite balls the size of tennis balls. PBMRs have a number of advantages over large traditional reactors in addition to their lower capital and operating costs. First, they use an inert gases rather than water as a coolant. Therefore, they do not need the large, complex water cooling systems of conventional reactors and the inert gases do not dissolve and carry contaminants. Second, its passive safety removes the need for redundant active safety systems. In other words, a PBMR cools naturally when is shut down. Finally, PBMRs operate at higher temperatures which makes more efficient use of fuel and they can directly heat fluids for low pressure gas turbines.
The first prototype is operating in China and the country has firm plans to build 30 by 2020. China ultimately plans to build up to 300 gigawatts of reactors and PBMRs are a major part of the strategy. They are one of china's top 16 priorities in the 2006-2020 plan. Small, modular reactors are also very attractive to small population centers or large and especially remote industrial applications. Companies such as Hitachi are currently working on turn key solutions. Researchers at West Virginia University estimate that 500 new 100 GW pebble reactors will be installed in the US by 2020 with an estimated graphite requirement of 400,000 tonnes. This alone is equal to the world's current annual production of flake graphite without taking into account PBMR demand from the rest of the world, growing industrial demand and growing demand from other applications such as Li ion batteries.
It is estimated that every 1,000 MW of PBMR capacity requires 3,000 tonnes of graphite at start up and 600-1,000 tonnes per year to operate.
Pebble Bed Reactor
Management and Directors:
DIRECTORS AND SENIOR MANAGEMENT
Gregory Bowes, B.Sc. (Geology), MBA -CEO and Director. Mr. Bowes has over 25 years of experience in the resource and engineering industries. He holds an MBA from Queens University and an Honours B.Sc., Geology degree from the University of Waterloo. Mr. Bowes was Senior Vice President of Orezone Gold Corporation (ORE:TSX) from February 2009 to October 2009, and was Vice President, Corporate Development of its predecessor, Orezone Resources Inc., from January 2004 until September 2005 and was Chief Financial Officer from October 2005 to March 2007, and from April 2008 to February 2009. From December 2006 until April 2008, Mr. Bowes served as President, CEO and a director of San Anton Resource Corporation (SNN:TSX). Mr. Bowes is a director of IMI.
Iain Scarr, B.Sc. (Geology), MBA - Director. Mr. Scarr is founder and principal of IMEx Consulting which provides business development, mining and marketing services to the industrial minerals industry. Mr. Scarr spent 30 years with Rio Tinto Exploration and was most recently Commercial Director and VP Exploration, Industrial Minerals Division. He holds a B.Sc. in Earth Sciences from California State Polytechnic University and MBA from Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. Mr. Scarr is currently Vice President Development of Lithium One Inc.
Ron Little, P.Eng - Director. Mr. Little is the President, CEO and a director of Orezone Gold Corporation (ORE:TSX). Mr. Little has more than 20 years experience, at senior levels , in mineral exploration, mine development, mine operations and capital markets. He spent the last 15 years focused on African projects where he was responsible for over $1.2B of transactions with the predecessor company Orezone Resources Inc. Mr. Little has held directorships with other public and private companies and held senior operating positions in both major and junior gold producing companies.
Jay Chmelauskas, B.A. Sc., MBA- Director. Mr. Chmelauskas is President of Western Lithium Corp. and previously was President and CEO of China Gold International Resources Corp. Ltd. (formerly Jinshan Gold Mines) where he successfully managed and led the company during all phases of the commissioning of one of China's largest open pit gold mines. Mr. Chmelauskas has considerable experience in the exploration, development and mining industry, including a large Placer Dome gold mine, and business analyst position with chemical manufacturer Methanex Corporation. Mr. Chmelauskas has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Geological Engineering from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Business Administration from Queen's University.
Donald H. Christie- Director. Mr. Christie is a Chartered Accountant and currently a Partner and Chief Financial Officer with Alexander Capital Group. He is a director of Alpha One Corporation, a capital pool company. Prior to his involvement with Alexander Capital Group, Mr. Christie co-founded Ollerhead Christie & Company Ltd., a privately held Toronto investment banking firm which sourced, structured and syndicated debt private placements and provided financial advisory services to a client base comprised primarily of colleges, universities, schools boards and provincial government agencies. Prior to founding Ollerhead Christie & Company Ltd., Mr. Christie served as Vice President and a director of Newcourt Capital Inc., formerly the corporate finance subsidiary of then publicly traded Newcourt Credit Group (TSX, NYSE), which subsequently combined with the CIT Group, Inc. While at Newcourt, Mr. Christie was involved in the structuring and syndication of over $1.5 billion of transactions. Mr. Christie holds a B.Comm degree from Queen's University.
K. Sethu Raman, Ph.D - Director. Dr. Raman is an independent mining consultant with over 35 years of international experience in all phases of exploration and development and has held senior executive positions in several public mining companies. He spent 13 years with Campbell Chibougamau Mines and Royex Gold Group of companies (now Barrick Gold) in various management positions including Vice President (1980-86) where he played a key role in the discovery and development in six operating gold mines and major acquisitions including Hemlo Gold Mine and Nickel Plate Gold Mine. From 1986 to 2004, Dr. Raman was President and CEO of Holmer Gold Mines Limited which over the years discovered and developed the Timmins West Gold deposit. On December 31, 2004 Lake Shore Gold Corp. (LSG:TSX) acquired all of the issued and outstanding shares of Holmer. Dr. Raman holds a Ph.D (1970) in geology from Carleton University, Ottawa and a UNESCO Post-Graduate Diploma (1965) from University of Vienna, Austria.
Donald K.D. Baxter, P.Eng - President. Mr. Baxter (age 44) has a degree in Mining Engineering from Queens' University (1987). For the last five years, he has been President of Ontario Graphite Limited, which is attempting to bring the Kearney graphite property, a past producing mine located near Huntsville, Ontario, back into production. Mr. Baxter was Mine Superintendent and Chief Mine Engineer at Kearney between 1990 and 1995. Prior to 1990, Mr. Baxter was involved in mine engineering and operations with INCO and Noranda Minerals.
Stephen Thompson, CA, CPA (Illinois) - Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Thompson (age 42) holds a Bachelor of Commerce (honours) degree from Queens' University (1991) and is a Chartered Accountant as well as a Certified Public Accountant (Illinois) with over 20 years of experience in accounting and finance. For the past three years, he has provided financial management and leadership services to a number of small Ottawa-based companies. He was previously Vice President, Finance of Espial Group Inc., Vice President, Finance of Hydro Ottawa Limited and Vice President Controller of Accelio Corporation.
John S. Rogers P.Eng, M.Sc. - Senior Project Advisor. Formerly Manager of Nanisivik and Detour Lake Mines and Director of Operations, Saudi Arabian Mining Company George Hawley - Technical Advisor
. Mr. Hawley has 40 years of experience in Industrial Minerals in research, process and product development, market analysis and development.
About Northern Graphite Corporation: Northern Graphite Corporation (TSX VENTURE:NGC - News) holds a 100% interest in the Bissett Creek graphite project which is located 17kms from the Trans Canada highway between Ottawa and North Bay, Ontario. The Company is in the process of completing a bankable Final Feasibility Study and permitting with the objective of initiating construction, subject to the results of the study and the availability of financing, in the first part of 2012.
The Graphite Market
Graphite prices have increased substantially due to the ongoing modernization of China and other emerging economies which has resulted in strong demand from traditional steel and automotive markets. In addition, new applications such as lithium ion batteries, fuel cells and nuclear power have the potential to create significant incremental demand growth. However, production and exports from China, which produces 70% of the world's graphite, are expected to decline and an export tax and a licensing system have been instituted. Both the European Union and the United States have declared graphite a supply critical mineral. With few potential development projects on the horizon, the Company is well positioned to benefit from the continued improvement in graphite demand and prices. High growth, high value graphite applications require large flake and/or high purity graphite which will represent 100% of Bissett Creek production.
Additional information on Northern Graphite Corporation can be found under the Company's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and on the Company's website at www.northerngraphite.com
This press release contains forward-looking statements, which can be identified by the use of statements that include words such as "could", "potential", "believe", "expect", "anticipate", "intend", "plan", "likely", "will" or other similar words or phrases. These statements are only current predictions and are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our or our industry's actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from those anticipated by the forward-looking statements. The Company does not intend, and does not assume any obligation, to update forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless otherwise required by applicable securities laws. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Don Baxter P.Eng, President (705) 789-9706
Gregory Bowes, CEO (613) 241-9959