OTTAWA, ONTARIO – August 21, 2013 – Focus Graphite Inc., (TSX-V: FMS; OTCQX: FCSMF; FSE: FKC) (“Focus” or the “Company”) is very pleased to report pilot plant test results from its flagship Lac Knife high grade flake graphite project located in the Grenville Geological Province of northeastern Québec. This work was performed as part of the ongoing Lac Knife concentrator flowsheet design process. The graphite concentrates generated from the pilot flotation plant will be subjected to further purification tests as part of ongoing metallurgical studies.
- The average grade of the coarse size fraction (+ 80 mesh) was 98.3% Total Carbon* (“Ct”) compared with 97.4% Ct in the Phase 2 Locked Cycle Tests** (“LCTs”)
- The average grade of the medium size fraction, less than 80 mesh and greater than 150 mesh in size, was 98.2% Ct compared with 97.4% Ct in the Phase 2 LCTs
- The average grade of the size fraction greater than 200 mesh was 98.0% Ct compared with 97.2% Ct in the Phase 2 LCTs
- The average carbon content of the pilot plant campaign was 96.6% Ct compared to 96.4% Ct reported in the Company’s July 9, 2013 press release on the final results of the Phase II LCTs. It is important to note that these results were achieved despite the fact that the less than 200 mesh fraction was not subjected to another cleaning circuit in the pilot plant run as was done in the LCTs, meaning the carbon content of the overall sample would likely have been even higher.
- These results indicate that all three concentrate size fractions may be easier and more cost effective to beneficiate into technology grade graphite due to the high grade carbon content obtained from the pilot plant testing. Higher concentrate grades translates into reduced levels of impurities that have to be removed in the thermal or hydrometallurgical purification processes.
*All carbon analyses were performed by SGS Canada Inc. (“SGS”) and are reported as total carbon (“Ct”). The analytical methods that were used to determine the metallurgical results included total carbon analysis by Leco on the final concentrates. The lower grade tailings products were analyzed by the graphitic carbon (“Cgr”) method to discount the organic carbon and carbonate carbon in the samples.
The fact that the medium and large graphite flakes could be upgraded to purity levels ranging between 98% Ct and 98.3% Ct by flotation suggests that the impurities are attached to the surface of the graphite flakes in the flotation concentrate and have the potential to be upgraded even further, to purity levels required by battery grade graphite manufacturers. The objective of the pilot plant testing was to produce the highest quality large flake graphite concentrate.
The pilot plant metallurgical testing was completed by SGS on a 23.3 tonne composite of drill core samples collected from the massive, semi-massive and low grade mineralization zones of the Lac Knife graphite deposit. The average total carbon (Ct*) head grade of the bulk sample was lower than the deposit average grade at 11.8% Ct in order to be able to increase the amount of mineralized material available for pilot plant testing at that time. Even with the lower head grade the metallurgical results were excellent confirming the robustness of the concentrator flowsheet design.
Overall, the graphite concentrate recovery decreased slightly from 92.5% in the Phase 2 LCTs to 91.0% in the pilot plant tests, while the amount of large flake graphite concentrate greater than 80 mesh recovered in the pilot plant test was 33.5% by weight compared with 42.5% in the LCTs. The decrease in large graphite flake recovery is attributable to the decision to employ aggressive polishing techniques that successfully improved the quality and increased the carbon content of the large flake graphite concentrate during the pilot plant tests. The assumption that the aggressive polishing conditions led to a breakage and/or folding of the graphite flakes is supported by the fact that the medium sized flake concentrate recovery with a size range of less than 80 mesh and greater than 150 mesh, increased to 29.8% from 21.2% in the LCTs.
** A locked cycle test (LCT) 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. In a LCT the intermediate products are incorporated in the following cycles, thus simulating a continuous flotation circuit on a laboratory scale.
Focus President and CEO Gary Economo said: “The pilot plant test results confirm once more the overall quality of our flake graphite resource at Lac Knife; a level of excellence that helps to further de-risk the project. More importantly, the results indicate that all of Lac Knife’s future production holds the potential for purification to premium-priced technology-grade graphite.
“Lac Knife,” he added, “provides the foundation for our mine-to-market to value-added technology business strategy. We anticipate no impediments to the successful execution of our mining and related corporate objectives.”
Dr. Joseph Doninger, Director of Manufacturing and Technology for Focus Graphite, stated: “The +98% Ct purity level and high recoveries achieved on the greater than 200 mesh flake size of graphite during the pilot plant tests confirm the robustness of the Lac Knife concentrator flowsheet design developed by SGS Inc. in the Phase I & II LCTs conducted in 2012 and 2013.”
About SGS Metallurgical Services (Lakefield)
SGS Canada Inc. (“SGS”) is recognized as a world leader in the development of concentrator flowsheet design and pilot plant testing programs. SGS’ Metallurgical Services division was founded over half a century ago. Its metallurgists, hydro-metallurgists 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 information pertaining to the metallurgical test program completed by SGS that is presented in this news release has been reviewed and approved by Mr. Oliver Peters, M.Sc., P.Eng, MBA, SGS Canada Inc. Consulting Metallurgist. Mr. Peters has extensive experience in the development of metallurgical processes and has managed the majority of the graphite testing programs conducted at SGS in recent years.
This news release has been reviewed by Mr. Jeff Hussey, P.Geo (Québec), VP-Project Development for Focus Graphite and a Qualified Person under NI 43-101 guidelines.
About Focus Graphite Inc.
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 Indicated Mineral Resource Estimate of 4.9 million tonnes grading 15.8% graphitic carbon (Cgr) as crystalline graphite with an additional Inferred Mineral Resource Estimate of 3.0 Mt grading 15.6% Cgr of 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 Assessment (“PEA”) of the Lac Knife Project which demonstrated that the project has an excellent potential to become a graphite producer. As a technology-oriented enterprise with a view to building long-term, sustainable shareholder value, Focus also invests in the development of graphene applications and patents through Grafoid Inc.
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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.