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Black Rock signs MOU with US Clean Tech Graphite Processing company Urbix
release time :2021-07-13 11:26:58 page view:1044

Jul. 1, 2021 - Tanzanian graphite developer Black Rock Mining Limited (ASX:BKT) (Black Rock or the Company) is pleased to confirm that it has signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with United States (US) Clean Tech Graphite Processing company Urbix, Inc (Urbix), for an innovative supply chain partnership collaboration on battery anode processing. 

Urbix is an advanced materials technology company specialising in all aspects of the graphite value chain including manufacturing the most economically viable graphite and energy storage products in the world. Patented refinement techniques deliver lower production costs with a low environmental footprint by avoiding the traditional need for Hydrofluoric Acid (HF) and high power consumption.

Urbix Partnership 

The MOU is designed as a whole of supply chain collaboration that will drive commercial benefits for Black Rock and its customers. Under the MOU, Black Rock and Urbix will examine the potential to provide current and potential offtakers with a western option that is not only competitive, but delivers strongly differentiated environmental and sustainable battery anode materials. 

Urbix has produced battery anode material from Mahenge graphite concentrates, with an initial batch submitted to Black Rock’s shareholder and development partner, POSCO Ltd, for qualification testing. 

Further samples will be prepared for ongoing testing. Under the MOU, both parties will work to validate and verify scaled up performance of the technology at a technical and commercial level. Following construction of a dedicated processing facility by Urbix to access US markets, the companies will seek to examine a North Asia opportunity for toll processing or Joint Venture (JV). 

Innovative Supply Chain Collaboration 

Urbix’s graphite processing technology has several advantages that has the potential to transform the global processing of natural graphite products for battery and energy storage applications. Urbix processing technology can deliver significant advantages to Black Rock and its customers through: 

• Much lower energy consumption; 

• Eliminating the need for hydrofluoric acid use; 

• Significantly higher product yield (70% to 80% versus current industry standard of 35%); and 

• Reduced reliance on co-product credit (re-carburiser sales to monetise waste streams).

Commenting on the Urbix partnership, Black Rock Managing Director and CEO, John de Vries said: 

“The Urbix partnership follows our core strategy of developing relationships and collaborating with downstream partners that will drive collective benefits for our entire supply chain, while we remain focused on our core skills of developing and operating mines. 

This MOU is transformational in the context that we are developing an additional US and western option for processing of graphite into battery applications. Increased geographic diversity of our supply chain allows us to be closer to our customers without the need to directly develop and fund the cost of downstream processing facilities. Importantly, Urbix’s technology will deliver significant environmental and economic benefits that essentially improve our ESG footprint across the whole battery anode supply chain, further differentiating our supply chain from competing brands.

This is something our customers, and their customers, are asking for.” 

Commenting on the Black Rock partnership, Urbix CEO, Nico Cuevas, said: 

“Urbix is excited to establish these initial steps toward a collaboration with Black Rock and its customers. We look forward to leveraging our innovative technology with Black Rock’s high quality graphite to serve the growing battery-grade graphite market.”

Black Rock Mining

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