Zenyatta Ventures and Western University Initiate a Project to Develop Graphene Enhanced Plastic for the Aerospace and Automotive Sectors

Thunder Bay, Ontario, CANADA

THUNDER BAY, Ontario, Nov. 09, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Zenyatta Ventures Ltd. (“Zenyatta” or “Company”) (TSXV:ZEN) is pleased to announce the commencement of a collaborative research project with Dr. Takashi Kuboki at Western University (‘Western’) to develop an advanced plastic (polymer composite) using Zenyatta graphene (or graphene-oxide) derived from Albany high-purity graphite deposit.  An enhanced polymer composite material will be attractive to the automotive, aerospace and construction industries that seek lightweight materials with added strength, electrical and thermal properties. Graphene, a single sheet of carbon discovered in 2004 at the University of Manchester, is a new and exciting nanomaterial that can perform all of these functions.

The quickest, simplest and most effective way for commercializing large volumes of graphene is to combine it with existing products in the market place that need enhancement, like composite materials.  Zenyatta recently announced significant success using its high quality graphene to improve compressive and tensile strength of concrete in Israel and enhanced rubber composites in the United Kingdom.  This new project may expand the Company’s business opportunities as a graphene nanomaterial supplier for the polymer composite markets also. 

Zenyatta recently announced the easily exfoliation of Albany graphite via sonication to produce a consistent 1-4 layer graphene which was then homogenously dispersed into a concrete and rubber composite to improve performance.  The dispersion quality of the graphene will be of paramount importance for boosting the performance of a polymer composite as well.

Aubrey Eveleigh, President and CEO of Zenyatta commented, “We continue to find that the unique properties of our graphite enable easy production of a consistent high quality and easily dispersible graphene which is opening doors for new and important disruptive technologies, especially composites.  Zenyatta recently achieved success demonstrating the use of its graphene in concrete and rubber composites with Dr. Oren Regev at Ben-Gurion University in Israel and Dr. Alan Dalton at University of Sussex in England. Using graphene in composites is considered “low-hanging fruit” and the Company will continue to play an increased and active role on collaborative research in this valuable sector.”

Dr. Takashi Kuboki, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Western commented, “During this research and testing project, injection molded plastic will be manufactured using Zenyatta’s graphene (or graphene oxide) as an additive.  Many industries, including aerospace and automotive are very important to Ontario and Canada.  These sectors strive to adopt new technology components made from plastics or polymer composites to reduce weight and improve fuel efficiency but maintain strength.  Also, graphene enhanced electrical properties of composites may protect against electrostatic discharge (i.e. lightning) while increased thermal properties are important for dissipating high temperature (i.e. heat sink in electronics).”

This project is receiving Federal funding from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (“NSERC”) Engage Grant program to allow a team of scientists under the direction of Dr. Kuboki at Western in London, Ontario, Canada to carry out this advanced nanomaterial research.  There is a significant opportunity for the Canadian plastic and composite manufacturing industry to benefit from a high-quality graphene material located in northern Ontario to produce new lighter, stronger, more thermally stable technology products.  This can contribute to the global competitiveness of a leading edge domestic industry to enhance the growth of the Canadian economy.

Mr. Eveleigh also stated, “We are very pleased to receive recognition and support from the Canadian NSERC Engage program which complements our various other collaborative research partnerships.  The Albany project has the potential to produce high-purity graphite product that is converted to high quality graphene.  This material could lead to high-tech, value-added business opportunities to emerge in Ontario and Canada. On behalf of Zenyatta, I would like to thank the Canadian Government for this important support in developing a novel product.”

About Zenyatta.  Zenyatta is developing its large and unique Albany graphite deposit in Ontario, Canada.  The Company’s highly crystalline (Igneous-type) graphite deposit is situated 30 km north of the Trans-Canada Highway, power line and natural gas pipeline near the communities of Constance Lake First Nation and Hearst.  A rail line is located 50 km away and an all-weather road approximately 10 km from the deposit.

About Western.  Western University delivers an academic experience second to none. Since 1878, The Western Experience has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals who have a broad worldview and who seek to study, influence and lead in the international community.

Mr. Aubrey Eveleigh, P.Geo., Zenyatta’s President and CEO, is the “Qualified Person” for the purposes of National Instrument 43-101 and has reviewed, prepared and supervised the preparation of the technical information contained in this news release. For Further Information Please visit the Company’s website at www.zenyatta.ca or contact 807-346-1660.

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT: This research and analysis will not represent a statistically large sample size and the grant is for testing on small scale lab equipment.  Furthermore, any positive results do not mean that Zenyatta can extract and process Albany graphite for graphite applications on an economic basis.  Without a formal independent feasibility study, there is no assurance that the operation will be economic.  Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. This news release may contain forward looking information and Zenyatta cautions readers that forward looking information is based on certain assumptions and risk factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations of Zenyatta included in this news release. This news release includes certain "forward-looking statements”, which often, but not always, can be identified by the use of words such as "believes", "anticipates", "expects", "estimates", "may", "could", "would", "will", or "plan". These statements are based on information currently available to Zenyatta and Zenyatta provides no assurance that actual results will meet management's expectations. Forward-looking statements include estimates and statements with respect to Zenyatta’s future plans, objectives or goals, to the effect that Zenyatta or management expects a stated condition or result to occur, including the expected timing for release of a pre-feasibility study, the expected uses for graphite in the future, and the future uses of the graphite from Zenyatta’s Albany deposit. Since forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and address future events and conditions, by their very nature they involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results relating to, among other things, results of metallurgical processing, ongoing exploration, project development, reclamation and capital costs of Zenyatta’s mineral properties, and Zenyatta’s financial condition and prospects, could differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements for many reasons such as, but are not limited to: failure to convert estimated mineral resources to reserves; the preliminary nature of metallurgical test results; the inability to identify target markets and satisfy the product criteria for such markets; the inability to complete a prefeasibility study; the inability to enter into offtake agreements with qualified purchasers; delays in obtaining or failures to obtain required governmental, environmental or other project approvals; political risks; uncertainties relating to the availability and costs of financing needed in the future; changes in equity markets and the ability to access capital, inflation, changes in exchange rates; fluctuations in commodity prices; delays in the development of projects; capital and operating costs varying significantly from estimates and the other risks involved in the mineral exploration and development industry; and those risks set out in Zenyatta’s public documents filed on SEDAR. This list is not exhaustive of the factors that may affect any of Zenyatta’s forward-looking statements. These and other factors should be considered carefully and readers should not place undue reliance on Zenyatta’s forward-looking statements. Although Zenyatta believes that the assumptions and factors used in preparing the forward-looking information in this news release are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on such information, which only applies as of the date of this news release, and no assurance can be given that such events will occur in the disclosed time frames or at all. Zenyatta disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, other than as required by law.