IM Graphite News in Brief 10 – 16 April

By Laura Syrett
Published: Thursday, 16 April 2015

StratMin ups monthly production while Eagle secures permit for Black Crystal project in BC.

StratMin Global Resources Plc produced 528 tonnes graphite ore from its Loharano mine in Madagascar in March 2015, up from 360 tonnes the previous month. This equated to 91 tonnes of dry mixed material.

The company said it sold 215 tonnes graphite over the course of the month, compared with 150 tonnes in February, but declined to disclose sale prices.

"Production volumes have improved due to increased efficiency at the plant," UK AIM-listed StratMin said in its production update. "Recovery levels increased significantly as a result of improved feed rates and flow management through the flotation cells. Grade has remained the same over the last quarter."

The company said it has installed and tested a new mill at the Madagascar project site and is continuing to develop the flow sheet to yield higher grades from Loharano ore. Glitches with the company’s dryer affected drying capacity in March, but these have now been resolved.

Elsewhere, Canada-based graphite company Eagle Graphite Corp. has received a quarry permit from the Province of British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines for its Black Crystal graphite project near Nelson in British Columbia.

The quarry permit is for the Hoder Creek Quarry, and allows for haul road access, waste and product stockpiles and exploration of the Bo zone, which lies adjacent to the processing plant at the site, Eagle said.

If Eagle decides to take the project into commercial production, the permit approves a five year production schedule for 2,100 tpa graphite output in 2015 and 2016, increasing to 7,500 tpa in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

TSX-V-listed Focus Graphite Inc. has launched a feasibility study for the construction of a transformation plant for value-added graphite products in Sept-Iles in eastern Quebec, Canada.

The commencement of the study coincided with the re-launch of the Quebec government’s Plan Nord action plan for 2015-2020. Plan Nord is a long-term scheme to sustainably develop the northern Quebec territory, where Focus’ Lac Knife graphite project is based, by 2035.

Focus said its decision to pursue plans for a high value graphite production plant were based on the results of tests published in May 2014 and February 2015 showing the potential for Lac Knife’s spherical graphite to be used in battery applications.

The company is continuing to advance its Canadian dollar (C$) 166m ($135.8m*) structured project financing for the development of the Lac Knife mine.

In Sweden, drilling by ASX-listed Talga Resources Ltd has intersected a graphite occurrence 50-60 metres thick at its Jalkunen graphite project.

Talga announced the results following the conclusion of a diamond drilling programme at the property, which consisted of eight drill holes totalling 1,082 metres – six of which intersected graphite.

The company said that the findings of the drilling indicate that a large tonnage is present at Jalkunen, based on the wide intersections coupled with the shallow dip of the mineralisation identified.

Assay results from the drilling are expected to be received in May, which Talga will analyse to calculate a resource estimate for the project.

Graphite One Resources Inc. has received a Stage B study from TRU Group Inc. on its Graphite Creek project in Alaska, US, which reveals the properties of the site’s mineralisation.

"As identified by TRU, these properties can be described as spheroidal, thin, aggregate and expanded, or STAX," the company said. Canada-headquartered Graphite One is now applying to register STAX as a trademark for Graphite Creek graphite.

The company said it is briefly suspending its preliminary economic assessment (PEA) of the Alaska project to incorporate the findings of the Stage B report, which require additional R&D for confirmation.

Canada’s TSX Venture Exchange has approved the terms of an additional option allowing Lomiko Metals Inc. the right to purchase a 40% interest in Canada Strategic Metals Inc.’s La Loutre graphite property and an 80% interest in its Lac des Iles property, both of which are located in Quebec.

Lomiko has an option to purchase the sites for a payment of C$1.01m and the issuance of 3m common shares in Lomiko, plus the funding of C$1.75m in exploration expenditure over a two-year period.

Separately, Lomiko announced it is to transfer its shares in Graphene Energy Storage Devices (Graphene ESD) to its subsidiary, Lomiko Technologies Inc.

Lomiko said that it is currently considering how to launch its Lomiko Technologies subsidiary in a way that minimises disruption to the two companies, which are developing graphene technologies for the energy storage market.

ASX-listed Lamboo Resources Ltd has released the findings of an updated conceptual study on its McIntosh graphite project in Western Australia, which indicate the property is technically and financially viable at production rates of 50,000 and 100,000 tpa concentrate.

The study also confirmed an exploration target of 80-127m tonnes at grades of 2.5-6% C across seven prospects. A strip ratio of 3:1 and an initial mine life of 13-26 years were also identified, while bench scale metallurgical tests support a recovery rate of 80%.

Preliminary capex costs are estimated at Australian dollar (A$) 123m ($95.8m), while all-in opex costs come in at A$78.30/tonne.

Lamboo intends to begin development drilling at two of the McIntosh targets in May to improve the definition of the resource and optimise cost estimates. The company has also announced the departure of Richard Trevillion as CEO, with immediate effect.

Fellow ASX-listed IMX Resources Ltd has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China’s Ningbo Foreign Trade Co. Ltd for the future sale of graphite concentrate from IMX’s Chilalo project in Tanzania.

The MoU envisages execution of a binding offtake agreement for the sale of at least 25,000 tpa graphite concentrate for five years, upon completion of a feasibility study on Chilalo.

IMX said in a statement that the parties are open to mutual options of extension, subject to the establishment of a successful supply relationship. The company added that it had declined the option of a larger supply agreement with Ningbo as it preferred to diversify its offtake agreements across multiple parties.

Prices to be paid by Ningbo for Chilalo graphite will be linked to market prices.

Kibaran Resources Ltd has said that flotation tests on ore from its Epanko graphite project in Tanzania confirm that the deposit’s mineralisation is consistent across grade boundaries ranging from 5% to 20.3% C; weathered, transition and fresh rock zones; and variable geological and mineralogical units.

The samples used in the tests were selected from seven diamond drill holes, drilled as part of Kibaran’s bankable feasibility study (BFS) on Epanko.

The results of the flotation work will be used to optimise the BFS mining plan for the property.

In financial news, TSX-V-listed Great Lakes Graphite Inc. has closed a non-brokered private placement of around 6.69m units and 7.7m flow through eligible units at a price of C$0.05/unit for gross proceeds of C$719,462.

Great Lakes paid a finder’s fee of C$36,600 and issued 732,000 finder’s warrants exercisable at C$0.10/warrant for a period of two years on closing the placement.

Net funds from the raising will be used to complete an NI 43-101 resource estimate at the company’s Lochaber graphite property in Quebec and to initiate the recommissioning of the leased graphite micronisation facility in Matheson, Ontario.

Finally, in graphene news, UK-based Perpetuus Advanced Materials has signed a preliminary agreement with Japan’s Graphene Platform Corp. (GPC) to export its reactor technology to produce commercial quantities of graphene for a range of industrial uses.

The two companies have signed an MoU that will lead to a royalty and licensing agreement ahead of the export and sale of Perpetuus’ DBD Plasma Reactor, which GPC will use to make functionalised graphene.

The UK company’s reactor technology is capable of producing 100 tpa, it said. Perpetuus already has a production facility at Ammanford in South Wales, UK, and is collaborating with other parties exploring commercial uses for graphene.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

*Conversions made April 2015