Alabama Graphite and the geological anomalies that promise success
Alabama Graphite Corp. (‘AGC’, TSXV: ALP | OTCQX: ABGPF), which is developing the Coosa and Bama graphite projects in Alabama, has been very active during this fall in advancing the programs. Alabama Graphite has 42,000 acres of property in central Alabama, located along a historic graphite belt. Alabama Graphite will be exploring five new targets over the next few months based on identified ‘anomalies’ that hold significant promise for large flake graphite. At Coosa, AGC, has been evaluating new exploration targets identified during flight and ground survey activity. So far, the Company has engaged in trenching some 10,000 out of a total 18,000 feet. Samples collected from the trenches will be analysed by ActLabs in Ancaster (Ontario). The results will be published as they become available but the trenching program should be concluded by the end of November. At Bama, meanwhile, AGC has entered the final stages of negotiation to secure a land use agreement for the Bama Mine project in order to start new exploration around the historic mine Bama.
An agreement should be forthcoming during the next two weeks and an initial 11,500 ft. trenching program will begin thereafter, including 10 drill holes. Before the end of 2014, AGC will have completed the trenching and drilling programs at Coosa and Bama while scoping level evaluations of samples from both projects are already underway at the SGS Lab in Lakefield (Ontario). One of the most important results so far is that trenching will be a far more cost-effective solution than drilling in the quest for near-surface oxidized mineralization. AGG, moreover, has already started to gain a better understanding of the properties of the natural flake graphite from Coosa and Bama in order to adopt the best suited metallurgical processes to determine ideal market applications. Dr. Nitin Chopra from the University of Alabama’s Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Department will be working with AGC to this effect.
Alabama Graphite’s CEO, Ron Roda, has assembled an excellent group of directors to the Company, perhaps the most experienced technical team in the graphite space. Some, like Jean Depatie (Chairman), had until not long ago been the President of Stratmin, the only mineral graphite producer left in the North America. One of AGC’s advantages is that it presents a very high percentage of naturally occurring large flake graphite. Large flake graphite has many applications from ‘basic’ to advanced technology. Most flake graphite, now, is used to make ‘grafoil’, which is the material used to make brake linings or automotive engine gaskets; such material can sell for anywhere from 1,800 to 2,200-2,300 dollars per ton; whereas the fine graphite is 450 dollars.
The Coosa and Bama properties have shown two important characteristics that make them ideal: the flakes are course and large and most of the graphite is at surface level with many interesting anomalies that promise to yield even better grades than the already high grade surface material, according to AGC management. Alabama Graphite has all the ingredients necessary to become the first graphite mine to resume operations in the United States with the potential to address demand for traditional applications as well as new battery technology related products. Alabama Graphite’s potential is supported by the fact that the only area in the United States where graphite has been mined profitably is, in fact, the so-called Alabama graphite belt. Indeed, many graphite mines were in operation for decades in Alabama before demand slowed and production stopped. Perhaps this explains why ‘Alabama Graphite’ has chosen to name itself after what was until not long ago the main graphite producing area in the USA. The State of Alabama can offer the right infrastructure – given its graphite past – to ease commissioning while the year round warm weather eases operations.