Focus is transitioning out of the exploration stage to a mining development company. It is currently at the project financing stage and is working with additional potential offtake partners.
To mark this transition, Focus has updated its corporate look to better reflect this evolution with a new logo, website (www.focusgraphite.com) and marketing materials. This change reflects the achievements of the company and its forward positioning as a leader in the graphite sector.
Our pre-development milestones have been met and we are now moving forward. From an initial listing on the TSX-Venture in May of 2010, the company has positioned itself as one of the most advanced, innovative graphite development companies in the world.
Entering 2015, Focus Graphite enjoys the support of multiple levels of government and the Innu First Nation.
Focus Graphite’s industrial focus rests on future production from its Lac Knife, Quebec deposit of low-cost, high grade graphite concentrate and value added graphite products for the renewable energy sectors, inclusive of battery grade spherical graphite.
According to Dundee Capital Markets, graphite demand will rise an estimated 8.6% per year between now and 2020 causing a supply imbalance from production curtailment in China; anticipated demand in the global battery manufacturing sector, created in part by demand from Tesla Motors and its electric vehicle competitors, and; China’s electrification and Europe’s expansion of existing electric transportation infrastructures.
Dundee estimates that at least two to three new producing graphite mines are needed to bring balance to the supply-demand gap within the next two years.
Having met its numerous regulatory and developmental milestones during 2014, Focus is exceptionally well positioned to make further advances toward production during 2015.
Discussions leading to securing mine and plant financing of $165.5 million (including a $17 million contingency) are currently underway with public and private sector funds, vendors and institutions. The company anticipates further announcements resulting from those discussions within the coming months.
During the last 12 months, the company announced the following:
January: A 92% increase of Lac Knife’s Measured and Indicated Resource to 9.6 million tonnes grading at 14.77% Cg. The updated mineral resource was subsequently incorporated into a mineral reserve estimate in the Lac Knife feasibility study.
May: Independent testing confirmed Focus Graphite’s success in producing extremely high-performing coated spherical graphite for use in anodes for Lithium Ion batteries. Focus achieved this through in-house, proprietary purification technologies. Focus is one of only two Companies in the graphite space to have achieved this level of development.
June: The Lac Knife Feasibility Study highlighting a pre-tax NPV of $383 million ($242 million post tax); 30.1% IRR (24.1% post tax) and Operating Costs of $441 per tonne over a 25-year mine life. The study did not incorporate values related to its spherical graphite production.
September: The company’s definitive move into the project financing phase for the Lac Knife Project with first tranche closing of a $6.5 million private placement with net proceeds used in part for work related to the Detailed Engineering Phase of the project.
October: Intersection of significant mineralization at depth below a discovery of 88.5 metres grading 12.82% Cg at its Lac Tetepisca Project. Metallurgical results showed an average of 94.7% total carbon in +200 mesh flake, including 97.7% total carbon for +80 mesh flake with similarities in carbon content to the Company’s Lac Knife Deposit. The Graphite Flake shows some similar properties to the Lac Knife flake. This shows promise of use in batteries.
October: The Company enters into a pre-development, collaborative agreement with the Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam Innu First Nation to incorporate the community’s concerns related to the Lac Knife Graphite Project into the company’s submission of its Environmental and Social Impact Assessment to the Quebec government.
December: The filing of the company’s Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for the Lac Knife Graphite Project to the Quebec government – a significant milestone required to obtain permitting approvals for mine and plant construction.
January, 2015: Entering the final discussions phase for mine and plant financing beginning with Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation’s formal expression of interest in participating in the Lac Knife Project’s financing structuring.
Looking Ahead – Through 2015
Focus Graphite continues to maintain a strong current market position among its industry peers.
Driving forward to complete those discussions for financing and off-take, now underway, holds the potential to lead the sector into the green technology, renewable energy revolution.
Anticipated Milestones Include:
- Commencement of detailed engineering (FEED) with potential site works underway in June, led by a strong Focus team.
- Feasibility level design of Focus’ value added graphite plant and further refining and optimization of its spherical graphite process
- Hydro-Quebec’s power line detailed engineering and build out to the Lac Knife mine site
- Submission of Mine Closure Plan & mining leases
Focus’ management is positioning the Lac Knife Project as a potential cost leader in the highly competitive battery materials supply sector and aims to do so from a vertically integrated business model that incorporates value added production.
Lac Knife’s project economics are positive and are built upon low production costs as outlined in the Lac Knife Feasibility Study filed on SEDAR.
In conclusion, commodities markets have changed dramatically during the last 18 months. This period of investment uncertainty continues to present challenges to project financing. Our project location in the Province of Quebec provides financing opportunities not available in other jurisdictions. Quebec is arguably the best mining jurisdiction in the world today.
Don Baxter, P. Eng., Focus President & Chief Operating Officer, is a Qualified Person as defined by NI 43-101 guidelines, has reviewed and approved the technical content of this news release.
About Focus Graphite
Focus Graphite Inc. is an emerging mining development company with an objective to produce value added products initially for the lithium ion battery market from the Lac Knife graphite deposit located south west of Fermont, Québec. The Lac Knife project hosts a NI 43-101 Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource Estimate* of 9.6 million tonnes (432,000 tonnes Measured and 9,144,000 tonnes Indicated) grading 14.77% graphitic carbon (Cg) as natural flake graphite with an additional Inferred Mineral Resource Estimate* of 3.1 million tonnes grading 13.25% Cg. Focus’ goal is to assume an industry leadership position by becoming a low-cost producer of technology-grade graphite. The Feasibility Study filed with SEDAR on August 8, 2014 for the Lac Knife Project indicates the project is economically viable and has the potential to become a low cost graphite producer based on 7.86 million tonnes (429,000 tonnes Proven and 7,428,000 tonnes Probable) of Proven and Probable Reserves grading 15.13 Cg. On May 27, 2014 the Company announced the Potential for High Value Added Sales in the Li-Ion Battery Sector following battery coin cell tests performed on Lac Knife Spherical Graphite (“SPG”). Testing measured the performance metrics and confirmed Focus’ capability to tailor lithium ion battery anode grade graphite and value added products to meet the most stringent customer specifications. Focus Graphite is a technology-oriented enterprise with a vision for building long-term, sustainable shareholder value. Focus also holds a significant equity position in graphene applications developer Grafoid Inc.
* Mineral resources are not mineral reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability
Forward Looking Information
This News Release contains “forward-looking information” within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation. All information contained herein that is not clearly historical in nature may constitute forward-looking information. Generally, such forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “plans”, “expects” or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “estimates”, “forecasts”, “intends”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, or “believes”, or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will be taken”, “occur” or “be achieved”. Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including but not limited to: (i) volatile stock price; (ii) the general global markets and economic conditions; (iii) the possibility of write-downs and impairments; (iv) the risk associated with exploration, development and operations of mineral deposits; (v) the risk associated with establishing title to mineral properties and assets; (vi) the risks associated with entering into joint ventures; (vii) fluctuations in commodity prices; (viii) the risks associated with uninsurable risks arising during the course of exploration, development and production; (ix) competition faced by the Company in securing experienced personnel and financing; (x) access to adequate infrastructure to support mining, processing, development and exploration activities; (xi) the risks associated with changes in the mining regulatory regime governing the Company; (xii) the risks associated with the various environmental regulations the Company is subject to; (xiii) risks related to regulatory and permitting delays; (xiv) risks related to potential conflicts of interest; (xv) the reliance on key personnel; (xvi) liquidity risks; and (xvii) the risk of potential dilution through the issue of common shares. Forward-looking information is based on assumptions management believes to be reasonable at the time such statements are made, including but not limited to, continued exploration activities, no material adverse change in metal prices, exploration and development plans proceeding in accordance with plans and such plans achieving their stated expected outcomes, receipt of required regulatory approvals, and such other assumptions and factors as set out herein. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such forward-looking information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking information. Such forward-looking information has been provided for the purpose of assisting investors in understanding the Company’s business, operations and exploration plans and may not be appropriate for other purposes. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Forward-looking information is made as of the date of this News Release, and the Company does not undertake to update such forward-looking information except in accordance with applicable securities laws.