Graphene specialist Thomas Swan launches joint venture with Canadian company

North East chemicals manufacturer Thomas Swan has revealed a joint venture in Canada that aims to exploit its expertise in graphene development.

The Consett-based business announced the joint venture with Mason Graphite Inc to launch new company Black Swan Graphene (BSG), which aims to establish a large-scale commercial production facility in Québec.

BSG has acquired the graphene patent and know how from Thomas Swan in return for £3m; on closing the transaction Mason Graphite and Thomas Swan will own respectively 66.67% and 33.33% of Black Swan Graphene.

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There is also a back-licence that allows Thomas Swan to continue to manufacture and sell smaller quantities through the firm of up to 1,000 tonnes per year of graphene.

Two Thomas Swan directors – chief executive Harry Swan and Michael Edwards, business director for the advanced materials division – will join the board of BSG. Thomas Swan will also provide its technical, production and commercialisation expertise through a services agreement to ensure BSG’s rapid growth and success.

Meanwhile, BSG is expected to list on a Canadian Stock Exchange within the coming months as it targets the rapid expansion of bulk graphene production and application development.

Thomas Swan has formed a joint venture with a Canadian company

Mr Swan said: “After a thorough review of the carbon industry and a long discussion process with several market participants, we are very excited to start this new venture with Mason Graphite, which is advancing a unique graphite project, developing a broad range of carbon related products, and working with several high-profile technical partners.

“This partnership creates a more efficient supply chain, which will solidify and accelerate the deployment of our graphene processing technology within a burgeoning industry.”

Fahad Al-Tamimi, chairman of Mason Graphite, said: “We couldn’t be more excited to embark on this new venture with Thomas Swan, a highly respected and dynamic company, in the promising world of graphene.

“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.

Graphene specialist Thomas Swan launches joint venture with Canadian company

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“Not only this new venture is 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.”

Thomas Swan, which employs around 170 people, has been developing its graphene processing technology since 2012 and its graphene has reached significant commercial achievements, having undergone thorough customer testing by companies in different manufacturing sectors and electronics, notably for mobile handsets.

In June it announced a collaboration agreement with FTSE-100 listed Johnson Matthey to use its graphene to enhance the overall performance of traditional lithium-ion and next generation batteries.

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