Tuesday 25th October 2016

Resource Clips

Posts tagged ‘Northern Graphite Corp (NGC)’

Tesla talk electrifies stocks

March 13th, 2014

Huge plans for EV expansion would require several new graphite mines

by Greg Klein

Giga what?

It’s a “Gigafactory” and its dramatic announcement has frontrunners to graphite production basking in the news—a potential 37% increase in natural graphite demand by 2020, requiring six to nine new graphite mines. Those estimates come from the authoritative journal Industrial Minerals in the wake of Tesla Motors’ plans for a $5-billion plant to manufacture lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. While several caveats have to be considered, graphite companies have once again come to market prominence.

The Gigafactory’s not yet a fact. Start-up is slated for 2017 but Tesla needs a location, not to mention partners. Tesla’s putting up only two-fifths of the $5-billion price tag. Writing in Morning Notes, Chris Berry states that Panasonic and Sanyo are “rumoured to be contributing as well.” IM writers Simon Moores and Andy Miller caution that “the plant is in the planning stage and capacities depend strongly on market demand.”

Huge plans for EV expansion would require several new graphite mines

Even without growth elsewhere, Tesla Motors
would dramatically increase demand for energy minerals.

Berry, who has previously called Tesla a “bellwether or benchmark for green technology and by extension energy metals,” emphasizes that the Gigafactory’s success depends “less on a secure supply of raw materials and more on the long-term price of a gallon of gas.” He also says EVs face competition from other technologies. And, although “a long shot,” current battery technology could become obsolete.

Nor has Tesla specified that its batteries will use natural graphite. Synthetic graphite might be an option but, as Berry points out, the natural stuff would help the company meet its goal of cutting manufacturing costs by half.

Moores and Miller note alternatives to graphite, such as the non-graphitic carbon anodes now in the R&D stage. But, the writers state, graphite anodes remain “the current material of choice for Li-ion battery producers.”

Should all go according to plan and assumptions, IM Data offers some intriguing estimates. Capacity operation at the Gigafactory would call for 93,000 tonnes of large flake graphite. Those grades, +80 mesh and larger, “made up just over 20% of total flake graphite output of 375,000 tonnes in 2013,” IM stated. By 2020, even with no growth in other areas, the Gigafactory could require six new mines.

That’s just the conservative estimate. “In a bullish case this could rise as high as 140,000 tonnes,” IM states, calling for nine new mines. A number of projects rank among the contenders.

Canada’s next new graphite operation would likely be Ontario Graphite’s Kearney mine, 250 kilometres north of Toronto. Having missed its 2013 target date, the privately owned company now says Kearney will re-open early this year. The large, low-grade resource would produce an annual “20,000 tonnes of natural, large flake, high carbon graphite concentrate,” the company states.

Next in line might be Flinders Resources TSXV:FDR, which plans to skip feasibility and even pre-feas to begin commercial production at Sweden’s Woxna mine by July. The company calls itself the only publicly traded company that’s completely funded for production. Its primary market would be European refractories and crucible manufacturers.

The only graphite company with full feasibility complete, not to mention an expansion case PEA and major permitting, Northern Graphite TSXV:NGC hopes to begin construction on the Bissett Creek mine in southeastern Ontario by Q4 this year, with commercial production following in Q4 2015. Negotiations are underway with potential strategic partners to take up part of the $101.6-million initial capex. One of the company’s claims to fame has even greater significance following the Tesla news. Northern is “the only junior that has successfully produced and tested spherical graphite for Li-ion batteries,” the company says.

This year has Focus Graphite TSXV:FMS focusing on feasibility and financing. In December the company signed what it terms the graphite industry’s first offtake deal, a 10-year contract with a Chinese conglomerate that will buy 20,000 to 40,000 tonnes a year. The 2013 preliminary economic assessment for the Lac Knife project in northeastern Quebec forecast total annual production at 44,000 tonnes. The PEA projected an initial capex of $126 million, which Focus hopes to raise through a combination of debt and equity.

Mason Graphite’s (TSXV:LLG) timeline has feasibility scheduled for completion in Q3 and construction beginning in Q1 2015. Last April’s PEA gave the company’s Lac Gueret project in northeastern Quebec direct costs, including contingency, totalling $107.92 million.

A company hoping to begin production in 2015, Energizer Resources TSX:EGZ has a February 2013 PEA projecting a $162.04-million capex for its Molo deposit in Madagascar. The current plan is to start small with 50,000 tonnes per year but build to a 150,000-tpa capacity as the market requires.

Not as advanced, but a prominent company nonetheless, Zenyatta Ventures TSXV:ZEN plans to finish a PEA in Q2 following last December’s maiden resource for its Albany project. The “very rare hydrothermal deposit” rejuvenated early-stage graphite activity by sparking an area play around the north-central Ontario property.

One junior that’s already selling product is Big North Graphite TSXV:NRT. The company has so far sold 760 tons produced by test-mining its 11-hectare, 50/50 Nuevo San Pedro joint venture in Mexico and by purchasing output from other small, nearby operations. The less-expensive amorphous product doesn’t serve the battery market but the company’s also pursuing flake graphite at its other properties in Mexico and Canada.

IM writers Moores and Miller compare Tesla’s plans to Henry Ford’s introduction of the assembly line to car manufacture, saying the Gigafactory “could prove just as pivotal in the emergence of the EV market, unlocking a lucrative new layer of demand for natural graphite producers.”

In his Morning Notes article, Berry points out that graphite is the largest component of the numerous materials used to make Li-ion batteries, but not the most expensive. Though Tesla’s announcement boosted graphite and lithium companies, he observes, cobalt and nickel stocks somehow missed out.

“There are a multitude of factors which will ultimately determine the success or failure of the Gigafactory,” Berry concludes. “But it is clear that reliable supply of various energy metals remains at the heart of this strategy.”

First place, second thoughts

November 8th, 2013

Some potential near-term graphite miners find time to revise their plans

by Greg Klein

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If the graphite game can be called a race to production, some companies seem to prefer the sure and steady progress of the tortoise. The hare’s dazzling example might have been discouraged by this year’s graphite price slump, down 20% according to Industrial Minerals. Even so, the authoritative journal anticipates a recovery next year, although not as strong as 2011. Those conditions might have inspired some front-running companies to revise their previous plans.

One of them is Focus Graphite TSXV:FMS. On November 7 the company released an updated preliminary economic assessment, replacing the previous PEA released in October 2012 for its Lac Knife project in northeastern Quebec. Thanks to streamlined metallurgy, the new study reports improved economics—the pre-tax internal rate of return increases to 36.4%, compared to 32% in 2012, and the pre-tax net present value to $317 million, compared to $246 million last time around.

Some potential near-term graphite miners find time to revise their plans

Flinders hopes to re-open Sweden’s Woxna graphite mine
and plant without undergoing feasibility studies.

Interestingly, the 2012 report omitted after-tax numbers. But the current figures show a post-tax IRR of 28.6% and NPV of $185 million, using an 8% discount rate. Using a 10% discount rate, as was done in 2012, the NPV shows $250.1 million pre-tax and $143.3 million post-tax.

Both studies relied on the January 2012 resource estimate to calculate a 20-year mine life for an open pit unearthing 300,000 tonnes per annum for a lifetime total of six million tonnes averaging 15.66% graphitic carbon (Cgr). But higher-grade concentrates shown by more recent pilot plant tests now cut operating costs.

No longer relying on a third party “and the associated $27.6 million in working capital requirements” to purify some of the concentrate, Focus says an optimized flotation and polishing circuit can produce concentrate of 98% total carbon for all flake sizes above 200 mesh. As a result, the company maintains, even the smaller flake product will see improved economics.

In a statement accompanying the announcement, Focus CEO Gary Economo said the company has started a feasibility study which “moves us closer to financing, securing off-take agreements, permitting and construction.”

Another potential near-term producer reconsidering its plans is Northern Graphite TSXV:NGC. The company first filed a feasibility study for its southeastern Ontario Bissett Creek project in August 2012. An update followed in September 2013. Then, on October 23, Northern announced a PEA that considers doubling mill throughput after three years of operation.

The plan would knock six years off the previous 28-year mine life but increase average annual production to 33,183 tonnes of concentrate, from 20,800 calculated in September. That would result in a 22% after-tax IRR (compared to 17.3% in September) and a $150-million after-tax NPV (compared to $89.3 million), using an 8% discount rate.

The new scenario would help meet expected growth in demand, the company stated. CEO Gregory Bowes sees an advantage for Bissett Creek in a graphite supply chain that he describes as “heavily dependent on China and … characterized by many inefficient producers with poor environmental and labour practices and inconsistent product quality, delivery and reliability.”

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Northern Graphite “effectively” granted permission to build mine

August 26th, 2013

by Greg Klein | August 26, 2013

Subject to financing, Northern Graphite TSXV:NGC has “effectively” been given the go-ahead to build an open pit mine at its Bissett Creek project in southeastern Ontario. The province’s Ministry of Northern Development and Mines has accepted the company’s mine closure plan and granted a mining lease, Northern Graphite reported on August 26.

In a statement accompanying the announcement, CEO Gregory Bowes said, “We look forward to getting on with the next phase of a project that has the potential to generate substantial benefits for local and first nation communities and the people and province of Ontario, as well as the company’s shareholders.” But, he added, “it is unfortunate that it took the Ontario government 10 months to approve the MCP when it is represented as a 45-day process.”

The company submitted the plan in October 2012. In July Bowes criticized the province for delays when Northern Graphite was “competing with companies in Quebec, Europe, Africa and Australia to build the first new Western graphite mine in over 20 years. Being first to market is very important but the company is at a competitive disadvantage due to the regulatory process in Ontario…”

At the time provincial officials contacted by ResourceClips.com were unable to explain the delays.

Northern Graphite still needs additional permits to address concerns related to air, noise, water and species at risk but these “will follow in the normal course now that the MCP has been filed,” the company stated. “Most of these issues are already addressed in the MCP.”

The company also stated it will revise the project’s July 2012 feasibility within weeks “to incorporate a new and much larger resource [released last May] as well as lower graphite prices and a number of modifications to the original capital and operating cost assumptions.”

Along with the revised feasibility, Northern Graphite has begun a preliminary economic assessment “to show the economics of doubling production in three or four years to meet the anticipated growth in graphite demand…. Due to the flat-lying nature of the deposit, production can be expand[ed] without a significant increase in the stripping ratio and capital or operating costs.” The original feasibility called for an initial capex of $102.92 million.

See also: Opportunity knocked: Is Ontario compounding the challenges faced by explorers and miners?

Northern Graphite CEO Gregory Bowes on dealing with Ontario bureaucracy

July 24th, 2013

…Read More

Ontario: A partisan view

July 12th, 2013

Opposition critic Norm Miller says government policies hinder mining

by Greg Klein

Opposition critic Norm Miller says government policies hinder mining

Opposition NDM critic Norm Miller (left) and Minister of NDM Michael Gravelle

Resource Clips - essential news on junior exploration mining uranium, gold, silver, fluorspar, graphite, metalsIs Ontario’s Liberal government out of touch with the exploration and mining sector? Certainly there’s been widespread criticism from a range of sources. Early-stage explorers say they’re unfairly burdened by new regulations. A formidable entity like Cliffs Natural Resources took shots at the province when suspending the Ring of Fire’s largest project. Most recently, Northern Graphite TSXV:NGC CEO Gregory Bowes said bureaucratic delays put his company at a competitive disadvantage. On July 12 ResourceClips.com spoke with an admittedly partisan source, Norm Miller, the Ontario Progressive Conservatives’ official opposition critic for Northern Development and Mines.

As a mining jurisdiction, Ontario once held first place in the Fraser Institute survey, Miller says—conveniently for him, when his party was in power and current leader Tim Hudak was minister of Northern Development and Mines. Now the province ranks 16th, down from 13th last year. “I think the delays Northern Graphite faces are part of the reason,” he says.

He’s heard this from other companies. The privately held Ontario Graphite, which says it plans to start mining in Q4, is located in Miller’s riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka. “They had similar challenges getting their permits and it was getting critical for them at one point,” he says. “They came to me as their MPP to try to speed the process up.”

As for the Ring of Fire, Miller says there’s been little progress since the Liberal government promoted the region’s opportunities in the March 2010 throne speech. A month earlier, Canadian Press quoted then-premier Dalton McGuinty saying, “Why wouldn’t we take full advantage of this multi-billion-dollar economic opportunity? Why wouldn’t we ensure that our northern communities, our mining sector, our first nations benefit from the thousands of new Ontario jobs this will create?”

Since then, Miller says, “we’ve seen very little concrete progress,” with the most prominent recent news coming from Cliffs.

Opposition critic Norm Miller says government policies hinder mining

New regulations on early-stage exploration require a minimum 30-day public comment period, in addition to requirements to consult and accommodate natives. Miller says he attended a Northwestern Ontario Prospectors Association meeting in which the new law dominated discussion. “That was the big thing people wanted to talk about. There were big complaints from people trying to comply with the new early exploration plans and permitting process…. They were saying, ‘It wasn’t broken before, why mess with what was working?’”

In an e-mailed defence, a Northern Development and Mines spokesperson told ResourceClips.com the changes “improve how early exploration activities are carried out by introducing a graduated approach to consultation with aboriginal communities, surface rights owners and the public. The new rules also increase certainty and provide the clarity that the mining industry needs in order to make informed investment decisions.”

But some companies are taking their investment decisions elsewhere. Does Miller think the Liberals will revise the regs? “Who knows?” he responds. “I think it’s very safe to say that if we form a government we absolutely would.”

His party will have more details to come, he adds. “We’re going to come out with a white paper in the next few months on northern resources. I think our attitude is very different from the current government. Even former premier McGuinty made some comment about essentially moving the economy away from resources, not recognizing just how important that is to Ontario’s economy. It’s not just the financial hub for mining in Toronto, it’s a huge, important industry for our province and the country.”

Having said that, Miller doesn’t think mining will be a primary election issue outside of some northern constituencies. The Liberals currently hold 48 seats, six short of a majority. Five vacant seats go to byelections on August 1, all in southern ridings. “For us, jobs and the economy are big election issues and obviously mining is a lot about jobs and the economy,” Miller says.

He emphasizes, “I think the government needs to realize how important mining is, not only to northern Ontario, but to the whole province and the whole country and work on welcoming mining and putting a priority on making things happen.”

Of course that’s always been the case, according to the party in power. The Northern Development and Mines e-mail also stated, “Ontario continues to hold the title of the leading jurisdiction in Canada for exploration and production of minerals. Ontario also continues to be ranked among the top 10 investment jurisdictions in the world and is a leading global producer of platinum, nickel, cobalt, gold, silver, copper and zinc. The Ontario government continues to work with industry and other ministry partners of the provincial and federal governments to improve regulatory efficiency without compromising environmental responsibilities or global competitiveness associated with mineral development.”

Some previous stories about Ontario:

Opportunity knocked: Is Ontario compounding the challenges faced by explorers and miners?

Facing Ontario’s challenges: More must be done for the Ring of Fire, says MacDonald Mines’ Kirk McKinnon

Which way to the Ring of Fire?: As Cliffs stands down, Noront and KWG propose alternate transport routes

Opportunity knocked

July 11th, 2013

Is Ontario compounding the challenges faced by explorers and miners?

by Greg Klein

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Resource Clips - essential news on junior uranium, gold, silver, fluorspar, graphite, metals exploration miningWorking in Ontario has become a competitive disadvantage, according to at least one CEO. Explorers have already expressed widespread disenchantment with new mining regulations that took full effect last April. Then Cliffs Natural Resources partly blamed government intransigence for the company’s decision to suspend its Ring of Fire chromite project. Now Northern Graphite TSXV:NGC CEO Gregory Bowes has slammed the province’s Ministry of Northern Development and Mines for what he says are unaccountable delays.

In a July 8 news release, Bowes said his company submitted a mine closure plan for its Bissett Creek project to the ministry on October 31, 2012. “This ‘45-day approval process’ has been ongoing for over seven months despite Bissett Creek being a relatively benign operation with no major environmental issues. It has strong community support and first nation consultations have been positive and constructive,” the news release stated.

Is Ontario compounding the challenges faced by explorers and miners?

A number of developments question the Ontario legislature’s commitment to mining and exploration.

According to the company, the ministry completed its review but must issue a mining lease before it can approve the project. The company applied for the lease in October 2011. The following July, the company stated, it was ordered to “redo” a government survey. “The survey was submitted to the surveyor general’s office in November 2012 for a 30-day approval process but a mining lease has still not been issued. The company believes approval is imminent but cannot provide further guidance and suggests any interested parties contact the MNDM directly.”

When ResourceClips.com asked Bowes what’s going on, he responded, “Nothing’s going on. That’s the problem. I guess the simplest way to explain it is that the ministry just can’t deal with permitting in a timely fashion. They advertise a 45-day process and they advertise that it’s a one-window approach, in other words we just deal with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, and they’re responsible for dealing with all the other ministries and co-ordinating things. And neither is true.”

He adds, “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.”

Anyone who took up Bowes’ suggestion to contact the MNDM directly might have got the same wordy but vague-to-meaningless e-mail that a ministry spokesperson sent ResourceClips.com. In response to a second phone call and a written list of questions, the ministry sent a second e-mail containing more feel-good fluff, but this time directed inquiries about the survey to Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources.

A spokesperson for Minister of Natural Resources David Orazietti told ResourceClips.com a request for the mining lease was received by the Crown land registry on July 9, 2013, and processing will likely take about a month. By press time she was unable to track information about the survey document Northern said was submitted in November.

Northern’s news release stated it is “competing with companies in Quebec, Europe, Africa and Australia to build the first new Western graphite mine in over 20 years. Being first to market is very important but the company is at a competitive disadvantage due to the regulatory process in Ontario which continues to damage the province’s reputation as a place to invest and is potentially depriving it of investment, jobs and tax revenues.”

As Bowes explains to ResourceClips.com, “Industrial minerals are smaller, more specialty markets. It’s not like gold where we can use two, three or four more mines and the market will absorb it. In this market there might only be room for one new mine and there might only be room for a couple of new mines over the next few years…. So timing is very important.”

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Carbon chronicles

April 3rd, 2013

A roundup of recent news from the ever-competitive graphite space

by Greg Klein

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While graphite frontrunners like Flinders Resources TSXV:FDR, Northern Graphite TSXV:NGC and Focus Graphite TSXV:FMS work through the pre-development or even pre-production stage, other companies vie for runner-up status. Among news announced April 3, Standard Graphite TSXV:SGH released assays from the final two holes of its 2012 drill campaign. These near-surface results come from the Oat Zone, east of the company’s Mousseau East Deposit in southwestern Quebec, showing 5.69% graphitic carbon over 6.8 metres and 5.73% over 20.1 metres.

True widths weren’t available. The top-most intercept started at a depth of 22 metres down hole while the deepest stopped at 64.6 metres.

A roundup of recent news from the ever-competitive graphite space

Additional assays and metallurgical results are pending
for Rock Tech Lithium’s Lochaber graphite project.

These assays conclude Standard’s 2012 campaign, which verified part of Mousseau East’s historic drilling as well as extending mineralization east and west. (Click here for some previous assays.) The company plans fieldwork and additional drilling this year to better define and expand the mineralization.

The same day Energizer Resources TSX:EGZ reported an analysis that it says further supports the February preliminary economic assessment for its Molo graphite deposit in Madagascar. In a statement accompanying the announcement, Energizer president/COO Craig Scherba said, “If the graphite price falls off by 25% and there is a 20% opex cost over-run, the project still has very positive IRR and NPV values.”

Going back a week, on March 27 Big North Graphite TSXV:NRT announced grab and channel sample assays for its Grand Lac du Nord property in eastern Quebec. The results “confirmed a multiple graphite-bearing structure covering an area approximately four kilometres by two kilometres, with results of up to 5.31% graphite,” the company stated. Its name notwithstanding, Big North also has a southern presence. That’s in Sonora state Mexico, where the company has three projects that include a 50% share in Nuevo San Pedro and 100% of Caraples and La Fortuna, all small-scale past-producing amorphous graphite mines. Last January Big North commissioned an NI 43-101 technical report for Nuevo San Pedro, which the company’s preparing to re-open.

On March 26 Canada Strategic Metals TSXV:CJC announced flake size distribution for grab samples from three parts of its 25-square-kilometre La Loutre property in southern Quebec. The company plans 15 to 20 holes of near-surface Phase I drilling this spring. One day earlier, Graphite One Resources TSXV:GPH announced it commissioned a PEA for its Graphite Creek property, 65 kilometres north of Nome, Alaska. Along with an updated resource, the study is slated for Q1 2014 release.

On March 21 Canada Carbon TSXV:CCB announced more surface sample assays that “confirmed the presence of a high-quality lump/vein graphite deposit” on the former Miller open pit mine about 80 kilometres west of Montreal. The company plans a busy spring with geophysics, channel sampling and drilling.

Speaking of drilling, on March 18 Rock Tech Lithium TSXV:RCK reported more assays from its Lochaber project, also in southwestern Quebec. One hole “intersected 84.56 metres of graphitic carbon at various depths with grades ranging from 1.11% to 4.42% Cg,” while another found 117.99 metres “at various depths with grades ranging from 1.3% to 3.63%.” Still to come are assays for 12 more holes, re-submitted assays from Phase I drilling and test results for flake size distribution and purity.

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Graphite gains ground

November 1st, 2012

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.

Major announcements show projects moving forward

Drill and trench results from Energizer Resources’ Molo flake graphite
deposit are being compiled into the project’s first 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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New stock on the block

October 30th, 2012

Mason Graphite’s grade even surpasses Lac Knife

by Greg Klein

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Graphite’s back in the news with two major announcements, one of which shows a new contender fast approaching Canada’s vanguard of advanced projects. On October 30, the day after Focus Graphite TSXV:FMS released its much-anticipated PEA, Mason Graphite TSXV:LLG hit the world stage—or at least the TSX Venture exchange.

The result of a reverse takeover with a capital pool company, POCML 1 Inc, Mason’s trading debut opened October 30 at $0.90 and dropped to $0.68 before closing at $0.75. The newcomer’s Lac Guéret project in northern Quebec overtakes Focus flagship Lac Knife’s claim to have the highest-known graphite grade.

Mason Graphite’s grade even surpasses Lac Knife

Mason Graphite didn’t begin TSXV trading until October 30
but plans to fast-track its Lac Guéret Project towards production.

The 11,630-hectare Lac Guéret has measured and indicated resources of 7.6 million tonnes grading 20.4% carbon and an inferred resource of 2.76 million tonnes grading 17.29%. CEO Benoit Gascon tells ResourceClips, “I visited many graphite mines that operated or still operate during my 20 years. This one is unique for that level of grade.”

Gascon was president of Stratmin Graphite, former owner of Quebec’s Lac-des-Îles Mine, the largest of Canada’s two producing graphite mines. In 2002 Gascon negotiated Stratmin’s takeover to form Timcal Graphite & Carbon, which now operates the mine. Gascon stayed with Timcal in senior roles.

Mason picked up Lac Guéret earlier this year from Cliffs Natural Resources, which got the property as part of its 2011 acquisition of Consolidated Thompson. The price tag for Mason totals $1.5 million in warrants and $15 million cash, which includes $2.5 million on completing feasibility and another $5 million on beginning commercial production.

Lac Guéret’s resource was calculated last summer, based on 2006 drilling. Any day now an 18,000-metre drill program will wrap up, with one resource update planned for December and another for Q1 2013. December’s also slated for a PEA. Looking further ahead, feasibility is scheduled for Q3 2014 and commercial production in Q4 2015.

As for community relations, the company hopes to have an impact benefit agreement finalized with the Pessamit Innu band by Q3 2013.

Lac Guéret is a flake graphite deposit, says Mason’s corporate development officer Simon Marcotte. Early indications show that “large- and medium-sized flake together is north of 60% [of the resource], but we’re hoping it’ll be more than that. We’ll have a better idea by year-end,” he says.

Marcotte doesn’t understate his optimism about the resource updates. The project will boast “not only the highest grade of graphite in the world but also the biggest deposit by far—no two ways about that—by a very significant margin.”

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Repeating history

September 26th, 2012

“If the past is anything to go by,” graphite’s future is strong

By Greg Klein

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Although graphite lost considerable market interest last April, exploration and development continued through the summer. That brought some companies a corresponding uptick in share price. Standard Graphite TSXV:SGH ranks among those with an historical advantage—a project with non-43-101 drill results and a resource estimate that were filed away when China flooded the world with the carbon commodity. The reports are non-compliant but, if recent drilling can confirm them, they’ll help push progress along.

On September 26 Standard announced completion of 12 confirmation drill holes at its Mousseau East Graphite Deposit in southwestern Quebec.

Some 62 holes totalling 4,996 metres had been drilled previously by Graphicor. A 1992 non-43-101 resource estimate showed 800,000 tonnes grading 8% carbon, using a 3% cutoff. The resource went to a vertical depth of only 40 metres but Standard says graphite continues deeper and along strike. With Phase I now complete, drilling continues to potentially expand the resource beyond the historic numbers.

Graphite One Resources has been releasing assays from its property 65 kilometres north of Nome, Alaska.

But Standard’s not the only one showing an historical interest in Graphicor. On September 20 Lomiko Metals TSXV:LMR announced completion of 23 holes totalling 1,600 metres on its Quatre Milles East Flake Graphite Property, also in southwestern Quebec. The company hopes assays will confirm 1992 results from Graphicor, which found impressive, albeit non-43-101 grades including 8.07% carbon over 28.6 metres, 8.07% over 8.7 metres and 5.88% over 11.2 metres.

Along with the Quatre Milles West Property acquired last May, Lomiko’s two Quatre Milles claim blocks total 3,780 hectares.

Standard and Lomiko obviously hope assays will repeat history. But in the case of Focus Graphite TSXV:FMS, history seems to have repeated itself—or at least, to have been repeated—the wrong way.

On September 25 Focus was slapped with a Management Cease Trade Order. According to a company statement issued that day, the Ontario Securities Commission decided some of the company’s disclosures about its Lac Knife Project in northeastern Quebec were based on historic, non-43-101 data.

The company first announced the OSC review on September 10, when Focus referred to previously released “information on the project’s capital cost, mine life, estimates on yearly production, production costs per ton and revenue potential. Most of this information was taken from historical reports prepared by previous owners of the project before the introduction of NI 43-101 and should not be relied upon.”

The MCTO holds until the company files a compliant technical report. Focus plans to file a PEA in the coming weeks.

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