KINGSTON, ONTARIO, March 8, 2021 – Focus Graphite Inc. (TSXV: FMS) (the “Company” or “Focus Graphite“) is pleased to provide an update on the Company’s ongoing efforts to complete the environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) study for its Lac Knife flake graphite project, Québec. Focus resumed work on the ESIA study during the summer of 2020, as COVID-19 containment measures were being eased by the Québec government. IOS Services Géoscientifiques Inc. (IOS) of Saguenay, Québec is managing the ESIA study. Focus also wishes to announce it has commissioned global Engineering firm DRA Americas Inc. (DRA) to update the Company’s 2014 feasibility study for the Lac Knife project* and prepare a new technical report in accordance with the Canadian Securities Administrators’ National Instrument (NI) 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects. The new feasibility study will be executed through DRA’s offices in Montréal, Québec with input from other DRA offices across the world.
Since 2014, Focus has completed or has undertaken several studies, the findings of which will serve as a basis for optimizing the potential of the Lac Knife project. The key changes to the feasibility study under consideration are:
- Incorporation of additional equipment for tailings filtration for the dry stack tailings facility.
- Evaluate the impact of additional bore hole data.
- Incorporation of a new tailings management system concept for the project.
- Update CAPEX and OPEX based on the latest 2020 equipment pricings and quotes.
- Update economic model to take into consideration new graphite sales price as well as updated CAPEX and OPEX.
* NI 43-101 Technical report on the Lac Knife graphite project feasibility study, Québec, Canada – Effective date: June 25, 2014. Available at www.sedar.com under Focus Graphite Inc.
Québec’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (“MELCC”) has requested updated ESIA and feasibility study reports from Focus to complete their analysis of the Lac Knife project and determine if the project is ready to move to public information and consultation, the next phase of the environmental permitting process. Focus is aiming to complete both studies by the end of the year.
Marc Roy, President and CEO of Focus states: “Focus welcomed 2021 with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and a new commitment to move the Company’s Lac Knife graphite project forward on the path to commercial production. Interest in securing new domestic primary supply chains for critical materials 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. Furthermore, with a new 5-year plan in place to encourage the development of its critical and strategic minerals (CSM) sector** and with its institutional funding programs that support new industries across the entire CSM value chain, Québec is rapidly becoming an attractive jurisdiction to invest in the development of new, high-grade high-purity flake graphite projects such as Lac Knife. Our decision to expedite the completion of the Lac Knife project ESIA study and upgrade the 2014 feasibility study reflects this new optimism.”
Update on the Lac Knife Environmental and Social Assessment (ESIA) study
In 2017, Focus received a second series of questions on the ESIA study from the Québec MELCC. The process to answer Series II questions requires a fundamental change to the design of the tailings management system concept for the Lac Knife project along with additional field surveys designed to comply with new environmental guidelines and regulations introduced by the MELCC in 2016. Refinements to hydrogeochemical modelling (water quality estimates study) including water treatment concepts and atmospheric dust dispersion modelling (air quality impact study) were also requested by the MELCC.
The following surveys and investigations have been completed or are near completion:
- Survey of groundwater flow and groundwater quality, including the installation of 21 piezometers in previous or purposely drilled wells,
- Geochemical characterizations of:
- Surface water quality from 14 lakes plus the Aux-Pékans River (four out of six sampling phases completed).
- Lacustrine (lake bottom) sediments from 28 sites (14 lakes).
- Soils and overburden material, including 727 samples (143 sites) analyzed to set the local natural thresholds for metals and contaminants, including mechanized excavation of 44 trenches.
- Kinetic lixiviation (humidity cells) tests on four pilot plant tailings samples
- Wetland characterization plus an inventory of special-status and invasive plant species.
- Inventory of Chiroptera (bat) fauna.
Focus has also instructed IOS Services Géoscientifiques to undertake, update, complete or commission the following surveys and investigations over the coming months:
- Hydrogeochemical and ground water dispersion modelling.
- Atmospheric dust dispersal modeling including greenhouse gas emissions.
- Tailings management system concept
- Tailings dam rupture mitigation measures.
- Phase 5 (spring 2021) and Phase 6 (summer 2021) surface water sampling.
- Caribou habitat characterization.
- Updated mine closure plan.
Assuming the timely execution of the studies and reports delivery, the Company expects to submit the definitive and complete set of answers Series II questions on the Lac Knife project to the MELCC by December 31, 2021.
Réjean Girard, géo. (QC), President of IOS Services Géoscientifiques, a consultant to the Company and a and a Qualified Person as defined under National Instrument (NI) 43 – 101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects, has reviewed and approved the technical content of this news release relating to the Lac Knife Project ESIA study.
Marc-André Bernier, géo. (QC), P.Geo. (ON), M.Sc., Senior Technical Adviser to the Company and a Qualified Person as defined under NI 43 – 101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects, has reviewed and approved the technical content of this news release relating the Lac Knife feasibility study.
About IOS Services Géoscientifiques
IOS Services Géoscientifiques is a diversified geological consulting group based out of Saguenay, Québec, offering specialized services to the mineral exploration industry since 1992. Its expertise in project development is built on an integrative approach involving a long experience in fieldwork management and execution, laboratory services and professional consulting that relies on the capabilities of its professional geologists, engineers, and biologists. Involved in the Lac Knife project since its onset in 2010, IOS has managed all drilling and sampling programs on the project. This long-standing involvement provides IOS with an acute understanding of the project and of the potential environmental issues surrounding graphite mining.
DRA is a diversified global engineering, project delivery and operations management group headquartered in Perth, Australia, with an impressive track record spanning more than three decades. Known for its collaborative approach and extensive experience in project development and delivery, as well as turnkey operations and maintenance services, DRA delivers optimal solutions that are tailored to meet clients’ needs.
With expertise in the areas of project development, mining, mineral processing, plant optimisation, operational readiness, systems integration, operations & maintenance and related water, energy, industrial and infrastructure requirements, DRA delivers truly comprehensive solutions to the resources sector. DRA employs over 4,500 people and offers flexible engineering & operations management services worldwide through 20 offices.
About Focus Graphite
Focus Graphite Inc. is an advanced exploration company with an objective of producing flake graphite concentrate at its wholly owned Lac Knife and Lac Tétépisca flake graphite projects located in the Côte-Nord administrative region of Québec. In a second stage, to meet Québec stakeholder interests in developing second transformation industries within the province and to add shareholder value, Focus is evaluating the feasibility of producing value added specialty graphite products including battery-grade spherical graphite.
Focus Graphite is a technology-oriented graphite development company with a vision for building long-term, sustainable shareholder value. Focus also holds a significant equity position in graphene applications developer Grafoid Inc. For more information about Focus Graphite, please visit www.focusgraphite.com.
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Forward Looking Information
This news release may contain certain forward-looking information and statements, including without limitation, the closing of the Offerings, statements pertaining to the use of proceeds, and the Company’s ability to obtain necessary approvals from the TSX Venture Exchange. All statements included herein, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking information and such information involves various risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate, and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information. A description of assumptions used to develop such forward-looking information and a description of risk factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from forward-looking information can be found in Focus Graphite’s disclosure documents on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com. The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking information except in accordance with applicable securities laws.
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