Tuesday 4th August 2020

Resource Clips

Opportunity knocked

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Focus Graphite TSXV:FMS and Flinders Resources TSXV:FDR each say they’re targeting 2014 large flake graphite production from their respective projects in Quebec and Sweden. The privately held Ontario Graphite says it plans Q4 2013 production from its Kearney mine, 300 kilometres north of Toronto.

Northern’s large flake graphite project, 15 kilometres from the Trans-Canada highway in southeastern Ontario, achieved feasibility in July 2012 for an open pit mine and 2,300-tonne-per-day processing plant with an estimated lifespan of 23 years.

We’re pretty much on our own to deal with other ministries and no one can stick to timelines, they don’t deal with issues, they don’t return phone calls.—Gregory Bowes, CEO of Northern Graphite

Although Northern calls itself “the only graphite company to have completed a bankable feasibility study,” the study’s currently being revised “to incorporate a new resource model and mine plan, a number of modifications to the original capital and operating cost assumptions, and lower graphite prices.”

Bowes tells ResourceClips.com the revised feasibility will have no effect on the regulatory process.

Bowes’ criticism of Ontario bureaucracy followed the June 12 announcement that Cliffs Natural Resources had suspended the largest project in northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire, thereby also stalling a government-backed proposal to build what would have been the region’s first all-weather road to the south. The company blamed “delays related to the environment assessment process, land surface rights and negotiations with the province of Ontario.”

Under controversial regulations that took full effect in April, even early-stage exploration can be delayed by a lengthy consultation and approval process. EarthExplorer.com reported a May 28 standing-room-only meeting of the Toronto Geological Discussion Group, where the audience was asked whether the new regs would encourage them to explore outside the province. In response, the geos’ website stated, “the single Ontario loyalist in the crowd was drowned out by the ‘yes’ camp.”

Nevertheless work, including graphite work, continues. Just what Ontario Graphite has in store for the market, however, isn’t widely known. In a Metals Report interview published May 28, Industrial Minerals writer and graphite authority Simon Moores said Ontario Graphite “is hard for us to analyse because it is a private company that does not put out much information. We look less at the tonnages in the ground and more at the flake distribution of the deposit. Ultimately, these companies will need to sell material. Flake fines, or smaller-flake graphite, is the hardest to sell, while large flake the easiest.”

Nor is Ontario graphite activity limited to advance-stage projects. On July 9 Brookemont Capital TSXV:BKT announced acquisition of 416 hectares on the eastern border of Zenyatta Ventures’ TSXV:ZEN Albany project in central Ontario. The next day Cavan Ventures TSXV:CVN said it was picking up another 768 hectares, also adjacently east of Albany. Described by Zenyatta as “a very rare hydrothermal or vein-type graphite deposit… it is the largest and only known graphite deposit of this type under development in the world.” Albany’s slated for a resource estimate in September, with work on a preliminary economic assessment to begin in Q4.

Other July 10 graphite news shows Ontario’s MNDM hasn’t been completely idle. Galaxy Graphite TSXV:GXY announced the mines ministry awarded a permit to drill the Laurier project, 300 kilometres north of Toronto, in the Central Gneiss belt of the Grenville geological province that hosts Kearney and Bissett Creek.

Update: On August 26, 2013, Northern Graphite announced the MNDM accepted Bissett Creek’s mine closure plan and granted a mining lease. Read more.

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