Following an array of fire-related incidents which have unnerved the construction industry and destroyed real estate valuations where flammable cladding has been installed, Bass Metals (ASX: BSM) and Swinburne University will partner for advanced material research using Expandable Graphite and Graphene for an eco-friendly solution.
The Master Research and Development Agreement will see Bass provide large flake graphite from their Graphmada Graphite Mining Complex in Madagascar where Swinburne will lead research initiatives.
Rare graphite to be used in the research is primarily found in Madagascar and Brazil, where it has been historically extracted, processed and refined for use in high-end applications. Natural graphite in particular is being increasingly sought for its use in clean energy products including lithium-ion batteries, where experts forecast a supply shortage in coming years as more clean energy products are produced globally.
The primary objective of the research is to develop a method for the production of Specialty Carbon Composites that will enable manufacturing of fireproof paneling. This would serve as an alternative to cladding used in the construction of buildings which serves as an accelerant for the vertical movement of fire once ignited. The disastrous effects of this were highlighted in the 2017 Grenfell Tower tragedy in London which resulted in 72 deaths as fire consumed the building, moving rapidly via external cladding.
“Bass has long stated its ambition to progress its downstream development and today’s announcement is a significant step forward for the Company in this regard,” said Bass Metals CEO, Tim McManus.
“The technology under development and subject to this Agreement with Swinburne is world-leading in its approach and its ambition.
“The Company will look to build upon the first project with further development of advanced material products and their uses in new technologies, such as high-end battery and electronic devices. Importantly, the timing of this research and development complements the Company’s growth in Mineral Resources and the encouraging progression of feasibility studies for large scale mining and processing of high-value graphite concentrates from Graphmada.”
With increased awareness of the fire dangers linked to buildings that have been constructed with flammable cladding, owners of these residencies have been severely disadvantaged. In many cases, the purchases occurred without knowledge of cladding used in the building but have resulted in buildings added to property blacklists by insurers, lenders and banks.
Landing on such a blacklist has resulted in significant de-valuations with many owners powerless until cladding is substituted across the entire building by a product such as that being researched by Bass and Swinburne.