OTTAWA, ONTARIO – April 17, 2013 – Focus Graphite Inc., (TSX-V: FMS; OTCQX: FCSMF; FSE: FKC) (“Focus” or the “Company”) is pleased to report the commissioning of its pilot plant and the start-up of circuit testing for the production of high-grade graphite concentrates from the Company’s wholly-owned Lac Knife, Québec graphite project.
The principal objectives of the pilot plant testwork are to confirm the results from Phase II bench scale Locked Cycle Tests (LCT)*; to assess the technical viability and operational performance of the processing plant design; to generate tailings for environmental testing, and; to produce a range of graphite raw materials for customer assessments and for further upgrading.
The Lac Knife project pilot plant was designed and built and is being operated by SGS Canada Inc. (“SGS”) in Lakefield, Ontario. The testing is expected to last 4-6 weeks.
Dr. Joseph Doninger, Focus Graphite’s Director of Manufacturing and Technology said the pilot plant tests are a critical component of the Lac Knife project development program.
“The testwork will provide us with the information we need to refine and optimize the design our mineral processing flow sheet and adjust individual circuits. They’ll also generate data needed for scale up of relevant processing equipment and to identify those critical controls required to maintain consistency of graphite concentrate recovery and purity.
“At the end of the day,” Dr. Doninger said, “the pilot plant campaign will provide us with the knowledge and the ability to adjust our processes to produce high purity graphite concentrates to fit individual customers’ needs and technical requirements.”
On March 4, 2013, the Company published its preliminary Phase II LCT* results which confirmed the high purity of the concentrates generated from four composite core samples comprised of low-grade and semi-massive graphite with a head grade ranging between 6.0% C and 20.7% C.
The highlights of those tests conducted by SGS confirmed:
– The average amount of graphite flake recovered from the core samples in the Phase II LCT increased to 92.2% compared with a recovery of 84.7% graphite flake in the Phase I LCT;
– The proportion of large flakes (+80 mesh) in the graphite concentrates ranged between 35% and 58%;
– The carbon content of graphite concentrates produced from the four (4) composites averaged 96.6 %C, including the fine flake fraction (-200 mesh), a 4.6% increase over Phase I LCT completed in mid-2012.
Final results for Phase II LCT including for the two composite drill core samples of massive graphite mineralisation are pending.
* A locked cycle test is a repetitive batch flotation test conducted to assess flow sheet design. It is the preferred method for arriving at a metallurgical projection from laboratory testing. The final cycles of the test are designed to simulate a continuous, stable flotation circuit.
Lac Knife Pilot Plant Testing Program
The pilot plant was designed, built and is being operated by SGS Canada Inc. (“SGS”) in Lakefield, Ontario. The flow-sheet design for the pilot plant is based on the results of Phase II bench top LCT at SGS and on the findings of experimental test work conducted at Metchib Metallurgical Laboratories of Chibougamau, Québec. The pilot plant is designed to operate in continuous mode at a feed rate of 200 kg per hour and it includes grinding mills, mechanical flotation cells, magnetic separator, flotation columns, classification devices, dewatering and other ancillary equipment such as power generation, electrical components, internal piping, a water distribution system and flotation reagent distribution. The grinding and floatation components of the circuit have been configured specifically to minimize flake wear and breakage and ensure maximize flake size preservation.
Two bulk graphite composites were provided to SGS by the Company to use as feed material for the pilot plant. The first is a bulk 21.6t sample of weathered semi-massive grade graphite mineralisation collected from surface that will be used for mechanical and metallurgical commissioning of the pilot plant circuit. The second bulk composite sample was assembled from drill core and consists of a 23.3t blend of core samples from the massive, semi-massive and low-grade mineralisation zones from the deposit. Both composites were crushed and homogenized by SGS prior to the pilot plant campaign to ensure consistent feed. Once the pilot plant circuit is dialed-in using the surface bulk sample, the composite core sample will be introduced into the circuit. The results from the processing of the bulk drill core sample will be used to establish the processing plant flow-sheet design. Graphite flake samples produced from the pilot plant will be submitted to potential customers for quality evaluations and purification trials designed to generate final saleable products.
Testing at SGS is expected to last 4-6 weeks.
About Focus Graphite
Focus Graphite Inc. is an emerging mid-tier junior mining development company, a technology solutions supplier and a business innovator. Focus is the owner of the Lac Knife graphite deposit located in the Côte-Nord region of northeastern Québec. The Lac Knife project hosts a NI 43-101 compliant Measured and Indicated mineral resource of 4.972 Mt grading 15.7% carbon as crystalline graphite with an additional Inferred mineral resource of 3.000 Mt grading 15.6% crystalline graphite. Focus’ goal is to assume an industry leadership position by becoming a low-cost producer of technology-grade graphite. On October 29th, 2012 the Company released the results of a Preliminary Economic Analysis (“PEA”) of the Lac Knife project which demonstrates the project has excellent potential to become a producer of graphite. As a technology-oriented enterprise with a view to building long-term, sustainable shareholder value, Focus invests in the development of graphene applications and patents through Grafoid Inc.
About SGS Canada’s Metallurgical Services (Lakefield)
SGS Canada Inc. (“SGS”) is recognized as a world leader in the development of flow sheets and pilot plant programs. SGS’ Metallurgical Services division was founded over half a century ago. Its metallurgists, hydrometallurgists and chemical engineers are experienced in all the major physical and chemical separation processes utilized in the recovery of metals and minerals contained in resource properties around the world.
The technical information presented in this press release has been reviewed by Marc-André Bernier, M.Sc., P.Geo. (Québec and Ontario), Focus Director and a Qualified Person under NI 43-101.
Forward Looking Statements – Disclaimer
This news release may contain forward looking statements, being statements which are not historical facts, and discussions of future plans and objectives. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove accurate. Such statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and future events to differ materially from those anticipated or projected. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company’s expectations are in our documents filed from time to time with the TSX Venture Exchange and provincial securities regulators, most of which are available at www.sedar.com. Focus Graphite disclaims any intention or obligation to revise or update such statements.