Focus Graphite (‘Focus’, TSX: FMS) announced that it has officially started its 5,000 meter infill and exploration drilling program at its Lac Knife graphite project in Quebec in order to convert existing inferred resources into indicated resources. In December 2011, Focus announced that it had indicated resources of 4.9 million tons of graphite at 15.8% carbon and 3.0 million tons of 15.6% carbon NI43-101 inferred resources. Focus’ CEO, Gary Economo, believes that the property may yield even larger amounts of high grade graphite; he expects to increase the resource estimate at the end of this new drilling phase. This claim is supported by the fact that Focus expects to drill an additional 2,500 meters to evaluate prospects that are currently beyond the area of the present resource.
In April, Focus announced results from the metallurgical testing for its Lac Knife graphite property, demonstrating the presence of a high percentage (46.1%) of large flake (+48 mesh to +100 mesh, whereby the highest grade, +48 mesh accounted for 16.6%) deposits and smaller, 39% presence of medium flake (+150 mesh to +200 mesh) deposits; the global recovery test rate was 85.9%. Combined with the fact that the deposit is over 7.0 million tons at grades approaching 16%, Lac Knife is easily one of the highest known grade graphite deposits in the world. The new drilling program may well prove that it is even larger. The high grades available, moreover, make the resource highly economical while the recovery rate will be improved using new purification and processing technology.
Focus’ resource is rich in the type of jumbo flake graphite that will see increasing demand for the manufacturing of graphene (the large flake variety) and Li-ion battery anodes. Jumbo flake variety emerging from the tests as this is the rarest type of graphite and the one that can command the highest prices in the market given its strong demand in the high technology sector and the manufacturing of graphene.
The property is located near Fermont, Quebec, and it can boast reliable grid power generation and reliable infrastructure, including transportation links that make the property commercially viable. The emergence of an ever larger number of high tech applications and Chinese market restrictions on graphite has renewed interest in Lac Knife. Focus also has a 40% stake in Grafoid Inc., a graphene research company; Focus Metals is on the leading edge of graphene development, including the quest for a commercially viable method to produce scale quantities of graphene, which is finding an ever larger range of applications.