Fast-riser PPK takes high-tech materials up a notch with Deakin University

Fast-riser PPK takes high-tech materials up a notch with Deakin University

One of the biggest growth stories on this year's Brisbane Top Companies list has today announced an $8.5 million capital raise to develop and commercialise its technologies in partnership with Deakin University.

Shares in mining technology company PPK Group rose almost 5 per cent this morning to $4.72 on the news, making them worth almost 16 times what they were valued 12 months ago.

It has now been almost a year since PPK signed a joint venture agreement with Deakin in November 2018 to form BNNT Technology Limited, with the goal of manufacturing boron nitride nanotubes (BNNT) on a commercial basis.

A test production plant was built at the Geelong-based uni, and this month Deakin confirmed all the process elements were completed and the plant was operational.

Now the two entities have entered a joint venture research agreement (JVRA) for the research, development and commercialisation of both new and existing technologies and products where BNNT can be used.

The JVRA shareholding structure will comprise PPK owning 65 per cent, Deakin University holding 25 per cent and BNNTTL holding the 10 per cent balance.

New application projects targeted by the JVRA include a type of battery based on lithium sulphur (Li-S), a 3D printing synthesis technology for metallic alloy composites, new manufacturing processes for transparent materials, thremally conductive and electrical insulating materials, blended polymers and improved mechanical properties of brittle ceramics.

"It is very encouraging to see the relationship between Deakin University and PPK strengthen, and we are delighted to be again working alongside Deakin University to assist in the enablement and commercialisation initially of these six market leading applications," says PPK executive chairman Robin Levison (pictured).

"The Board and management of PPK have been greatly encouraged by the investor support shown since the initial BNNT announcement in November 2018 and are confident that these new technology commercialisation opportunities will not only be beneficial to PPK in the medium term but also create a portfolio development effect that both increases revenue and profitability opportunities for PPK whilst reducing overall commercialisation risk."

Levison previously led mining services company Industrea to a market capitalisation above $500 million before acquiring a stake in PPK in 2013.

It wasn't long after he joined before PPK acquired the COALTRAM mining equipment business from Diversified Mining Services, and after several years of development the mining equipment division is now well and truly in the black with profit of $3.77 million in FY19.

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