Major announcements show projects moving forward
by Greg Klein
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Last spring was a tempestuous time for graphite watchers. Enthusiasm had built the previous year and climbed sharply through the early months of 2012. Cynics must have rejoiced not only to see stocks fall as they did, but when they did—almost coinciding with April Fool’s Day. But for all that, companies persevered with both early-stage and more advanced projects. In the latter category, this week has seen a number of significant announcements.
First off were Focus Graphite TSXV:FMS with its PEA and Mason Graphite TSXV:LLG with its TSXV debut (both reported here). Following closely were Northern Graphite’s TSXV:NGC mine closure plan and Energizer Resources’ TSX:EGZ final drill results prior to an initial resource estimate.
With its October 31 MCP announcement, Northern Graphite hopes to begin production at its Bissett Creek Project in Q2 2014. Pending acceptance by Ontario’s Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, and assuming financing falls into place, plant construction would begin next spring.
“Production in Q2 2014 is an attainable goal and should coincide with improving economies, a recovery in the graphite market and higher graphite prices,” the company stated.
Northern describes the MCP as “an all-encompassing document that describes, in detail, the nature of the operations that will be carried out, the current baseline environmental conditions and the company’s plan for rehabilitating the site and returning it to its natural state at the end of mining operations.”
The company estimated its financial assurance at $1.6 million “which reflects the relatively benign nature of the operation, neutral tailings and the ability to practice progressive rehabilitation due to the shallow, flat-lying nature of the deposit.”
The southeastern Ontario project has probable reserves of 18.977 million tonnes, but with an unimpressive 1.89% grade. Last April, however, CEO Gregory Bowes told ResourceClips that the grade was offset by “the high percentage of large flakes, the high purity, very low strip ratio, good infrastructure and the fact that our project is very scalable.”
Bissett Creek’s July feasibility study projected annual production of 4.2 million tonnes averaging 2.22% carbon, for an average of 18,600 tonnes of concentrate grading 94.5% for the first five years. Total mine life is estimated at 23 years.
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