Leading Edge Materials Provides Update on Norra Kärr Rare Earth Element Project, Sweden
5th June 2019
Leading Edge Materials Advances Expandable Graphite Research Using Graphite from Woxna Mine, Sweden
9th July 2019
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Leading Edge Materials Reports Quarterly Results to April 30th 2019

Vancouver, Canada, June 27, 2019 – Leading Edge Materials Corp. (“Leading Edge Materials” or the “Company”) (TSXV: LEM) (OTCQB: LEMIF) (Nasdaq First North: LEMSE) announces second quarter results for the period ending April 30, 2019. All amounts in this release are in Canadian dollars.

Work undertaken by Leading Edge Materials during the second quarter of 2019 was in line with the Board’s established plan to benefit from and support the roll out of transport electrification in Europe, while responding to the findings of an internal strategic review that was implemented in January 2019 and completed in May 2019.

The strategic review was completed by Company Chairman, Mr. Michael Hudson and Mr. Filip Kozlowski, an independent Director. The review highlighted that the Company’s combination of discovery-stage and development-stage assets may present different requirements with regard to operational structure, capital needs and investor preferences. As a result, the Board resolved to initiate the transition of its Swedish subsidiary Woxna Graphite AB into a freestanding company. It is expected that the freestanding structure will enable Woxna Graphite AB to execute more effectively upon a high value graphite materials business plan by undertaking strategic financings independent of Leading Edge Materials, and allow the local team to be expanded with an increased focus on customer and stakeholder relationships. Furthermore, it is anticipated that Woxna Graphite AB will be in a stronger position to benefit from Swedish and European public funding opportunities that are developing in the battery materials sector.

The transition process has been initiated, and the Board is identifying the appropriate leadership and other resources required to enable swift progress. The Board will communicate these findings as they become available. The Board emphasizes that Leading Edge Materials will continue to hold significant exposure to the success of the Woxna graphite mine as a future graphite materials supplier.

At the Woxna graphite mine, the Company is focused on optimization of the purification and shaping processes required to convert low value graphite into high value lithium ion battery-ready anode material. An engineering study (the “Study”) was completed by a leading global engineering firm during the period, using data from the extensive purification and spheronisation test work completed by the Company over past years. The Study provides design, installation and cost estimate criteria for a spheronisation and thermal purification process that can deliver approximately 100kg per day of high purity natural graphite anode suitable for lithium ion batteries.

The thermal purification process is designed with a high degree of flexibility. Recent test work by Leading Edge Materials has produced ultra-high purity graphite up to 99.998% carbon and the process flexibility will allow purity to be tailored to customers performance and price requirements. Spheronisation test work produced D50 size ranges from 15 to 25 micron with D10 ranges of 7 to 12 micron and D90 from 28 to 35 micron. These ranges meet specifications provided by potential customers and are consistent with anode materials used by all current lithium ion battery manufacturers.

Subject to financing, the Company plans to advance the development of an onsite demonstration plant to produce battery-ready graphite anode. This demonstration plant will allow engagement with customers by providing volumes of anode materials that are adequate to be used within customer test circuits.

In 2018 Leading Edge Materials initiated an Exploration Alliance (the “Exploration Alliance”) in Romania focused on the discovery and development of lithium ion battery raw materials. The Exploration Alliance has principally been directed towards cobalt mineralization within the Upper Cretaceous Carpathian magmatic belt of the Balkan region. The Carpathian is a well mineralized intrusive arc that extends from Western Turkey to Hungary, forming the western end of the Tethyan Metallogenic Belt.

Following technical and commercial due diligence, Leading Edge Materials established a local branch company (“LEM Romania”) of which it is the majority shareholder with the right to earn a 90% interest. LEM Romania holds access and work permits across an area of 25.5 sq km (2,550 ha) pertaining to the Bihor Sud Prospecting Permit in central western Romania. Bihor Sud lies within the same intrusive belt and less than 400km north of the Timok copper-gold project in Serbia. Other notable deposits in the West Tethyan Metallogenic Belt include Skouries, Chelopech, Bor and Majdanpek.

Staff and consultants to LEM Romania were active at Bihor Sud during the reporting period, compiling historic data, sampling historic mine waste dumps, completing preliminary ground geophysics and soil sampling. Review of progress and results to date are considered highly encouraging, and it is anticipated that LEM Romania shall proceed to Exploration License application across prospective areas.

The Norra Kärr rare earth element project lies in south-central Sweden, 15 km northeast of the township of Gränna and 300 km southwest of the capital Stockholm in mixed forestry and farming land. Process development testwork and other activity at Norra Kärr remains restricted while permitting of a Mining Lease is resolved.

The Norra Kärr project is held upon a granted Exploration License, while a reapplication process for a Mining Lease remains in progress.  In December 2018, Leading Edge Materials submitted supplementary information regarding the updated Norra Kärr Mining Lease application to the Bergsstaten (“Swedish Mining Inspectorate”).  The Bergsstaten forwarded the supplementary information to the Länsstyrelsen (“County Administration Board”) of Jönköping.  On March 8th, 2019, Länsstyrelsen submitted their opinion that more information is required for them to support re-granting of the Norra Kärr Mining Lease.

Leading Edge Materials reviewed the comments of the Länsstyrelsen, and has initiated a Natura2000 permit application on Natura2000 areas in the Norra Kärr region which may be influenced by a future mining operation.  The Natura2000 permit application will be completed within the Swedish summer months and submitted to support the Mining Lease application. 

The Company continues to be an active participant in the EU Battery Alliance, a forum comprised of more than 50 of Europe’s strongest corporate voices within the emerging lithium ion battery sector, plus numerous support and government agencies.

Selected Financial Data

The following selected financial information is derived from the unaudited condensed consolidated interim financial statements of the Company prepared in accordance with IFRS.

  Fiscal 2019 Fiscal 2018 Fiscal 2017
Three Months Ended April 30,
2019
$
January 31,
2019
$
October 31,
2018
$
July 31,
2018
$
April 30,
2018
$
January 31,
2018
$
October 31,
2017
$
July 31,
2017
$
Operations                
Expenses (571,749) (850,681) (1,151,305) (697,426) (665,364) (1,976,066) (843,952) (598,339)
Other items 46,864 1,602 39,448 (7,721) 32,508 39,641 75,938 (85,392)
Comprehensive loss (524,885) (849,079) (1,111,857) (705,147) (632,856) (1,936,425) (768,014) (683,731)
Basic and diluted loss per share (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.01) (0.02) (0.00) (0.01)
Financial Position                
Working capital 929,183 1,438,895 960,707 1,369,748 2,041,550 2,698,150 3,490,760 4,430,469
Total assets 35,359,241 35,766,406 35,075,446 36,132,517 36,139,745 36,902,593 37,915,728 39,267,743
Total non-current liabilities (8,637,726) (8,515,027) (8,306,212) (8,902,310) (8,157,203) (8,204,190) (8,330,321) (9,557,984)

Results of Operations

Three Months Ended April 30, 2019 Compared to Three Months Ended January 31, 2019

During the three months ended April 30, 2019 (the “Q2”) the Company reported a net loss of $524,885 compared to a net loss of $849,079 for the prior three months ended January 31, 2019 (the “Q1”), for a decrease in loss of $324,194. The decrease in loss was mainly attributed to the following:

  1. during Q1 the Company recognized a $200,000 termination payment and $49,998 management fee charged by the former CEO and President of the Company; and
  1. during Q2 the Company recorded cost recoveries of $35,273. The Company has received public research funding into Woxna Graphite AB to conduct research on developing a shared lithium refinery in the Nordic region.

Financial Condition / Capital Resources

During the 2019 period the Company recorded a net loss of $1,373,964 and, as at April 30, 2019, the Company had an accumulated deficit of $28,428,288 and working capital of $929,183.  The Company is maintaining its Woxna Graphite Mine on a “production-ready” basis to minimize costs.  The Company currently has no significant budget allocated for the Norra Kärr Project.  Although the Company has sufficient funding to meet anticipated levels of corporate administration and overheads for the ensuing twelve months, the Company will need additional capital at the Woxna Graphite Mine to modernize the plant to produce value added production.  In addition, the Norra Kärr Property will require significant funds for development.  There is no assurance such additional capital will be available to the Company on acceptable terms or at all.  In the longer term the recoverability of the carrying value of the Company’s long-lived assets is dependent upon the Company’s ability to preserve its interest in the underlying mineral property interests, the discovery of economically recoverable reserves, the achievement of profitable operations and the ability of the Company to obtain financing to support its ongoing exploration programs and mining operations.  Whether the Company can generate positive cash flow and, ultimately, achieve profitability is uncertain.  These uncertainties may cast significant doubt upon the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.

Financings

Nil

Summary and Outlook

To position the Company for the future, Leading Edge Materials’ completed an internal Strategic Review during the period. Based on this strategic review, the Board has resolved to seek direct funding opportunities for the Woxna graphite mine. The Board emphasizes that Leading Edge Materials will continue to hold significant exposure to the success of the Woxna graphite mine as a future anode supplier, while enabling resources to be allocated to progress discovery at other projects within the portfolio.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, Leading Edge Materials Corp.

Mr. Mark Saxon, Interim CEO

For further information, please contact the Company at:
1.604.685.9316
info@leadingedgematerials.com
www.leadingedgematerials.com

About Leading Edge Materials

Leading Edge Materials is a Canadian public company focused on production of high value critical raw materials for the European market, with an operating base in the Nordic region, a region well recognized for its promotion and investment in innovation. LEM’s flagship asset is the Woxna Graphite production facility located in central Sweden targeting the supply of specialty materials for lithium ion battery production.

Additional Information

The Company’s condensed consolidated interim financial statements for the six months ended April 30, 2019 and related management’s discussion and analysis are available on the Company’s website at www.leadingedgematerials.com or under its profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

Leading Edge Materials is listed on the TSXV under the symbol “LEM” and Nasdaq First North Stockholm under the symbol “LEMSE”. Mangold Fondkommission AB is the Company’s CA on Nasdaq First North and may be contacted at +46 (0) 8 5030 1550.

This information was submitted by Leading Edge Materials for publication, through the agency of the contact person set out above, on June 27, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. Pacific time.

Reader Advisory

This news release may contain statements which constitute “forward-looking information”, including statements regarding the plans, intentions, beliefs and current expectations of the Company, its directors, or its officers with respect to the future business activities of the Company. The words “may”, “would”, “could”, “will”, “intend”, “plan”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “estimate”, “expect” and similar expressions, as they relate to the Company, or its management, are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future business activities and involve risks and uncertainties, and that the Company’s future business activities may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including, but not limited to, fluctuations in market prices, successes of the operations of the Company, continued availability of capital and financing and general economic, market or business conditions. There can be no assurances that such information will prove accurate and, therefore, readers are advised to rely on their own evaluation of such uncertainties. The Company does not assume any obligation to update any forward-looking information except as required under the applicable securities laws.

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this news release.