viewLeading Edge Materials Corp.

Sweden-focused Leading Edge Materials delivering in the high tech materials arena


In January this year, shares in the materials group began trading on Nasdaq First North Stockholm


Quick facts: Leading Edge Materials Corp.

Price: 0.15 CAD

Market: TSX-V
Market Cap: $17.17 m

Europe-focused Leading Edge Materials Corp (CVE:LEM) certainly seems to be delivering on its aim to supply materials vital for a low carbon energy world.

If a firm could be said to be 'on trend', then this is certainly one. Investor interest is also there too.

Now listed on Nasdaq First North Stockholm

In January this year, shares in the materials group began trading on Nasdaq First North Stockholm and the firm said it was looking forward to "working with the Swedish investment community" to grow its business.

It made the move after it was "encouraged" by a steady increase in interest from European investors over the past year.

Elon Musk's baby Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) is never far from the news and talk of electric vehicles supplanting gasoline-powered peers has grown louder than ever, as countries increasingly look beyond petrol and diesel.

Lithium is of course a major component in batteries for electric vehicles, hence the interest in the commodity and Leading Edge kicked off a second drill program at its Bergby lithium project in Sweden last summer after the “excellent” results it saw in the first round.

“Bergby has rapidly shaped up as a highly ranked lithium project in the Nordic region,” said chief executive Blair Way.

Bergby lies in central Sweden, 25km north of the town of Gavle, and has major roads, rail and power supply passing immediately adjacent to the claim boundaries.

Swedish gov't in support ...

The firm has also welcomed the Swedish government's indication of a willingness to support the development of the critical metals industry.

More recently, LEM has reported positive results from the testing of material from its Norra Karr heavy REE (rare earth element) deposit also in Sweden, including a development process it describes as a potential "game -changer".

That research was completed under the European Commission-financed EURARE project and made significant technical milestones, including showing high REE recovery with a substantial reduction in water used and recovered additional high-value metals hafnium and zirconium.

This month (March) it revealed it has partnered with a research team lead by Professor Julien Leclaire at the Institut de Chimie et Biochimie Moléculaires et Supramoléculaires (ICBMS) in France looking at the possibility of extracting hafnium and zirconium.

An initial six month of research alliance will be partially funded by Leading Edge Materials, which allows it to apply exclusively for the intellectual property (IP) developed within two years of project completion.

Norra Karr has a proven mineral reserve of 23.6mln tonnes at 0.59% total rare earth oxide (TREO).

A prefeasibility study in 2015 estimated an after-tax net present value (NPV) of US$313.

WATCH - Leading Edge Materials' Blair Way on potential 'game-changing' development process

Ironically perhaps, electric car batteries contain more graphite than they do lithium, and, as well as cars, are used in all sorts from smart phones to solar panels.

Leading Edge, in a second set of encouraging battery test results last year, revealed that material from its Woxna mine in Sweden has been used to make 18650 lithium-ion battery cells and performed well.

Such batteries are equivalent to those used in Tesla vehicles and the firm said results were 'strong and consistent', showing they could be used to create a long battery life - vital in such vehicles.

At the Woxna mine, the firm usefully has 100 tons of material stored and available for further testing. Testing is a vital part of development such resource technology and is likely to go on for at least six to 12 months more, according to LEM.

Growing demand ...

The firm has said it is encouraged by the growing demand for lithium-ion batteries, and is ready to supply potential new gigafactories in Europe (like Tesla's in Nevada), and it is in the right place to do so - in Scandinavia.

Leading Edge says it's the only western producer of natural flake graphite with a fully constructed, permitted and producing plant (100,000-tonne-per-annum feed producing 10,000 tons of over 90% graphite concentrate).

The Woxna plant was on care and maintenance when the firm bought it in 2011 and operations restarted in 2015 using freshly mined material but falling prices for flake graphite and a downturn in the sector meant operations stopped.

The plant is now on what's called a production-ready basis while higher value graphite products are developed and will not restart until market conditions improves.

Don't forget Rotmyran ...

Earlier in 2017, LEM said it was expanding its footprint in Sweden further, staking a new lithium project called the Rotmyran project.

The project lies 20 kilometres north of Bergby and was selected as a high priority target based on the geological similarity to Bergby plus presence of a strong tin (Sn) - lithium (Li) till anomaly in Swedish Geological Survey data.

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