The share price of TSX-V-listed Mason Graphite jumped 29% on Monday, as the company announced the launch of Black Swan Graphene – a new venture with UK-based speciality chemical company Thomas Swan & Co.
Through Black Swan, Mason Graphite has agreed to purchase strategic assets related to patented graphene processing technology from Thomas Swan.
Upon closing of the transaction, Mason Graphite and Thomas Swan would own a respective 66.67% and 33.33% of Black Swan Graphene, which would proceed to a going-public transaction “in the coming months”.
“Graphene is no longer theoretical, but undergoing a transformative progress in applications, production, and commercialisation. Yet very few companies are able to produce high performance graphene at a cost sufficiently low to penetrate industrial markets; I believe Black Swan Graphene will be one of them.
"Not only is this new venture expected to create meaningful graphite demand and is therefore a natural extension of the Lac Guéret graphite project, but it truly transforms the company’s potential as it elevates Mason to a preeminent position within the fastest growing segment of the carbon industry,” said Mason chairperson Fahad Al-Tamimi.
Graphene was first isolated in 2004 in Manchester, UK, leading to the award of the Nobel Prize in Physics to the two physicists behind the achievement.
Thomas Swan's graphene processing technology allows for the production of high-performance graphene at a cost sufficiently low to engender rapid commercial penetration in industrial applications requiring large volumes of graphene and, in turn, requiring large volumes of graphite.
Mason said that the graphene produced by Thomas Swan had reached significant commercial achievements and was expected to be widely used in “off-the-shelf” products in a near future.
The potential for battery applications was also recently evidenced with the announcement of a collaboration agreement with Johnson Matthey, to use the graphene developed by Thomas Swan to “enhance the overall performance of traditional lithium-ion and next generation batteries".
In addition to the assets related to the graphene processing technology and associated know-how to be sold to Black Swan Graphene, Thomas Swan would contribute its exclusive production and commercialisation expertise while providing access to subject matter expertise, such as access to personnel and technical support, and deliverables from its operation in Northern England.
Mason said that Black Swan Graphene aimed to establish a large-scale commercial production facility in Québec, in order to leverage the province’s competitive and green hydroelectricity, as well as the proximity of Mason Graphite’s planned production sites.
The Black Swan board would comprise two Thomas Swan nominees, CEO and owner Harry Swan and business director for advanced materials Michael Edwards, as well as four Mason nominees, namely executive director Peter Amouni, director Roy McDowall and Simon Marcotte, who stepped down from the Mason board to join the Black Swan board. Mason’s fourth nominee is David Deak, an expert in materials science with experience in battery materials, including having led special supply chain projects and battery engineering programmes for Gigafactory 1 at Tesla.
Further, Francois Perron would join the Mason Graphite board.
Mason’s stock closed at C$0.70 a share on Monday.