Sources: Zenyatta Ventures Ltd., Thunder Bay, Ontario; CP staff
The owner of a rare, volcanic graphite deposit in Ontario has entered an agreement with Israel-based admixture specialist Larisplast Ltd. to expand research on a processed agent, graphene, shown in preliminary testing to accelerate concrete curing time and impart mechanical performance suited to seismic or blast impact loads.
Graphene is derived from material mined at Zenyatta’s Albany deposit, initially tapped in 2011-12 for copper-nickel. Officials from the Toronto Stock Exchange-traded company characterize graphite as a form of carbon with unique chemical, electrical and thermal properties—and one of the lightest reinforcing compounds. Albany is reportedly the sole active hydrothermal graphite source in the world. Its highly crystalline graphite is of volcanic (fluid) origin versus the flake (sedimentary) grade commonly associated with the material. Tests at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), Israel, confirm graphene’s concrete curing and engineering benefits, along with potential for lowering portland cement dosages.
Zenyatta and Larisplast have received Canada-Israel Industrial R&D Foundation grants under the Ontario-Israel Collaboration Program. Upon successful second phase graphene testing for commercial concrete, the agreement contemplates a 50/50 partnership to market the specialized admixture product globally. Zenyatta would be the exclusive purified graphite supplier to it and any other party working with Larisplast on the concrete technology. The latter company develops, produces and markets materials for Israel’s concrete industry, and is currently eyeing international markets and distribution channels.