Mining Industry

Interest in critical minerals supply ‘never been this strong’, says Quebec graphite developer

Interest in critical minerals supply ‘never been this strong’, says Quebec graphite developer
Mining News Pro - There is a "renewed sense of enthusiasm" and a "new commitment" to move the Lac Knife graphite project, in Quebec, forward on a path to commercial production, says developer Focus Graphite.

The TSX-listed company said on Monday that the Quebec Ministry of Environment and Climate Change had requested an updated environmental and social impact assessment and feasibility study for the Lac Knife graphite project to advance the permitting process.

The studies would be completed by the end of the year, TSX-V-listed Focus Graphite said, announcing that global engineering and project group DRA had been commissioned to update the feasibility study.

“Interest in securing new domestic primary supply chains for critical minerals such as graphite, which is used in the manufacture of anodes for lithium-ion batteries and in a variety of other high-tech industries, has never been this strong,” President and CEO Marc Roy said in a statement.

The 2014 feasibility study was based on a 25-year mine life and produced an aftertax net present value of C$224-million and an aftertax internal rate of return of 24.1%, resulting in the company being able to pay back the C$165.55-million required to build the project in 3.2 years.

The study had demonstrated that the Lac Knife project was economically viable with a base-case scenario that includes a concentrator-production line rate of 44 300 t/y of concentrate at an average mill feed rate of 323 670 t/y. Lac Knife has the potential to become a low-cost, high-margin producer at $441/t of graphite concentrate.

The 2014 measured and indicated resources totalled 9.58-million tonnes, grading 14.77% graphitic carbon, with inferred resources of 3.10-million tonnes, grading 13.25% carbon.

Key changes to the 2021 feasibility study update under consideration are incorporating additional equipment for tailings filtration for the dry stack tailings facility, evaluating the impact of additional bore hole date, incorporating a new tailings management system concept, updating capital and operating expenditures and updating the economic model to reflect current graphite prices.

Roy said that Quebec was rapidly becoming an attractive jurisdiction to invest in the development of new, high-grade high-purity flake graphite projects, such as Lac Knife, citing the institutional funding programmes available to support new industries across the critical and strategic minerals sector.

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