Lomiko locks in C$16 million in US, Canada grants for battery grade graphite

Canadian graphite explorer Lomiko Metals (TSX-V:LMR) has secured multi-million-dollar grants from the United States Department of Defense and Natural Resources Canada to fund further studies at its La Loutre natural flake graphite project in Québec. 

The US Department of Defense is providing US$8.4 million (C$11.4 million/A$12.5 million) under a Technology Investment Agreement (TIA) that requires Lomiko to match the funding over a five-year period.

Lomiko says this is one of the first agreements the Department of Defense is granting in TIA funding to a Canadian management team and project at this stage of development.

Meanwhile, Natural Resources Canada will provide Lomika with funding of C$4.9 million over three years under its Critical Mineral Research, Development and Demonstration program. 

The US funding is being granted under Title III of the US Defense Production Act, which targets investments that contribute to the domestic industrial capabilities critical to the Department of Defense. 

It is also being granted under the Inflation Reduction Act, which targets investments in clean energy programs as part of the nation’s plan to reduce emissions and shore up energy security. 

The US is fully dependent on imports of flake natural graphite, which is witnessing a strong increase in demand due to its importance in electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

The anodes of EV batteries require around 50-100kg of graphite, which makes up nearly 100% of the anode and accounts for about 25-28% of the total EV battery. There is around 10-15 times more graphite than lithium in an EV battery.

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence forecasts the shortfall in graphite supply will widen to 8 million tonnes by 2040. 

Meanwhile, graphite is one of the key priority critical minerals in Canada. 

Canadian Energy and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says the investment in Lomiko will help advance supply chain resilience and create job opportunities in Canada.

“We will continue to work with allies and industry to ensure the development of secure resources for a prosperous net-zero future,” he says. 

The US cash injection will be used to complete a Prefeasibility Study, metallurgical studies and a Definitive Feasibility Study. 

The Canadian grant will be used to fund a pilot project to test the proposed graphite upgrading process and convert natural flake graphite from the La Loutre into battery grade anode material.

The La Loutre Project currently hosts an indicated resource of 64.7 million tonnes @ 4.59% for 3 million tonnes of graphite and an inferred resource of 17.5 million tonnes @ 3.51% for 650,000 tonnes of graphite.

Lomiko has already completed half-cell coin battery testing of its La Loutre graphite material with Polaris Battery Labs to determine the basic material electrochemical performance metrics.

The company says the initial results confirm “excellent graphite properties”, paving the way for Lomiko to progress to phase-two testing of single-layer pouch cells – full cells using its graphite anode material tested against an industry relevant cathode material.

Write to Angela East at Mining.com.au 

Images: Lomiko Metals
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Written By Angela East
Managing Editor Angela East is an experienced business journalist and editor with over 15 years spent covering the resources and construction sectors and more recently working as a communications specialist handling media relations for junior resources companies.