Mason Graphite Inc. (“Mason”, TSX.V: LLG) carried out an intense exploration program from July to November 2012 resulting in 163 new drill holes (26,500 meters) as part of the mineral resource expansion program at its Lac Gueret project in Quebec – in the prolific graphite area located some 300 km north of Baie Comeau – one of the most best graphite zones in the world. Today, Mason published assay results for 36 of those drill holes. The drill zone presents a NI: 43-101 mineral measured resource of 300,000 tons at 24.4% carbon and 7.3 million tons at 20.2% carbon Indicated. Mason said it would publish the assay results for the remaining 104 drill holes when the results become available. Mason is pleased with the results and expects to find more encouraging graphite intersections beyond the current resource zone, details of which will be used to produce a mineral resource update. Mason believes that its high carbon content (or purity) gives it a cost-benefit advantage as higher material grades can be achieved with less effort.
Mason’s resource promises to be especially rich in crystalline or flake graphite, the most desirable variety of graphite for applications in clean energy, lighter and more powerful batteries, super capacitors for wind turbines and pebble-bed nuclear reactors. Given its high grades potential, Mason will be ready to address those applications as they become commercially relevant. Large flake graphite, which is cheaper to process than the amorphous variety, has seen sharply rising demand, accounting for a fivefold price increase from USD$ 500/ton to USD$ 2,500/ton since 2005 with the steepest price increases occurring over the past two years.
Mason acquired the property from Cliffs Natural Resources last April after arduously courting the previous owner for over three years. While Mason is certainly targeting the emerging green technology market, as battery technology advancements trickle down from the lab to the shop and dealer ‘at the mall’ (it is literally possible to buy a luxury Tesla Motors electric vehicle at selected malls in North America), Mason distinguishes itself from other crystalline graphite plays in having a plan to generate short term revenue as well. In other words, Mason wants a piece of the current graphite market, tapping into traditional demand sources. This includes the steel industry, which needs refractory materials for furnaces and carbon enhancers in steel alloys; it also means lubricants. Mason believes these sources will help it grow in the near future while high-tech batteries will become more commercially relevant in a few years’ time. High-tech applications represent a future and additional source of revenue.
Mason’s project is close to established transportation infrastructure and management has maintained good relations with the local First Nations Native Pessamit community, signing a number of agreements that help ensure a smooth path toward production. Mason’s strategy of focusing on a variety of strategic areas showing high potential for a large find of high purity large flake graphite (the type that is in highest demand) offers interesting opportunities for graphite investors. Apart from the quality of the Mason project itself, Benoit Gascon’s more than 20 years experience in the graphite space is also reassuring. Mr. Gascon served as CEO of Stratmin Graphite (since 2002 known as Timcal Canada Inc.), one of the few graphite producers in North America, having a deposit in the same highly prolific Lac-des-Iles zone.