Mason Graphite scores one of the world’s highest-grade graphite deposits
October 7, 2013 – Tracy Weslosky, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of InvestorIntel interviews Benoît Gascon, President and CEO of Mason Graphite Inc. (TSXV: LLG) for an update on the recent major milestones accomplished by Mason (including achieving 99.9% purity, via first-run conventional hydrometallurgical process testing without any optimization and extensive 26,000-meter drilling) in a considerably short period of time, its flagship Lac Guéret project and the upcoming benchmarks Mason Graphite plans to achieve in the next year.
Tracy Weslosky starts (TW): I’m here today with the President and CEO for Mason Graphite, Benoît Gascon. How are you today?
Benoît Gascon (BG): I’m fine thank you, and you?
TW: I’m fantastic. Today you put out your corporate update and you announced a sizeable amount of milestones in the last two years. Can you talk to some of the highlights for us?
BG: In fact, it’s less than two years. It’s been a little bit more than a year. We acquired the (Lac Guéret) property back in April 2012 and since then we’ve achieved 26,000 meters of drilling, we’ve published a resource estimate of 7.5 million tons at 20% grade, which is very good. But also a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) with the first 22 years at 27% grade, and metallurgical purification tests. A number of very good milestones were achieved, so we will move forward at a very good pace in the future.
TW: It’s my understanding that you are the only person running an advanced-stage graphite play right now that has previously run a graphite mine, is that correct?
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BG: To the best of my knowledge, yes. I spent 20 years in that graphite industry at Stratmin and Timcal.
TW: You recently announced some extraordinary purification test results, 99.9%, is that correct?
BG: That is correct.
TW: Can you explain to our audience that may not understand what 99.9% purification tests mean?
BG: It means that achieving, with the process, product purity can be increased, which opens up a number of applications that you cannot achieve with 96-98% carbon.
TW: What kind of applications?
BG: There are numerous possible applications, but mainly lithium-ion, alkaline batteries require that, but also in refractories. Some products, some customers will require 99% (ultra-high-purity graphite) for their production.
TW: Of course these applications do not mean anything if you don’t have relationships with potential end users. It’s my understanding that you have a very well developed history with end users, is that correct?
BG: That’s correct. Since 1990, I’ve been producing, but also selling graphite of all types — natural and synthetic graphite, and the carbon up to the 99.9%. We know the specifications of the customer; we understand their needs, so it’s easier to move forward with them.
TW: You acquired your flagship Lac Guéret property in 2012?
TW: What should we expect from Mason Graphite in the next 12 months?
BG: In the next 12 months, we will release an update of our resource based on the 26,000-meter drilling that we did last year. Remember that our actual resource of over 7.5 million tons at 20% was based only on 2,000 meters of drilling. This should be done by the end of November. And we will continue with additional drilling that we will start this fall, additional metallurgical tests, purification tests to optimize that, and ultimately by the end of this year, start the Feasibility process.
TW: So, for some of our audience, can you explain 26,000 meters of drilling? That is fairly aggressive, yes?
BG: It is very aggressive, yes, that’s a lot of drilling, a lot of holes, but also a lot of results that you get.
TW: We’ve just discussed your benchmarks that we anticipate for this upcoming year. Your management team is extraordinary. I mean in addition to you and your end-user background and selling graphite and actually running a producing graphite mine, you have a number of key players on your management team. Would you like to speak to some of those players?
BG: Yes, I have two of my former colleagues at Timcal. One was my CFO, but also he was our Chief Operating Officer for North America, so he’s a CFO but an operational one (Luc Veilleux is Mason’s Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice-President). And Jean L’Heureux is an engineer, a metallurgist, who I hired back in 1993 and at the end of January this year he was still at Timcal. But he jumped the wagon to come with us (L’Heureux is Mason’s Executive Vice-President, Process Development, with over 20 years of experience).
TW: Can you give us an overview on your Lac Guéret property? It’s your flagship property, yes?
BG: Exactly. An incredible property in the Province of Quebec, in Canada, north of Baie-Comeau, in a mining district where we have a safe jurisdiction, but also have access to all the services, suppliers, and other requirements. It’s accessible all year round and with the resource estimate that we published last year, already at 7.6 million tons at 20% graphite, which is very good.
Disclaimer: Mason Graphite Inc. is a advertorial member of InvestorIntel.
An accomplished entrepreneur and corporate finance professional, Tracy Weslosky is the CEO for InvestorIntel Corp. and the VP of Business Development for Bellotti Capital Partners ... <Read more about Tracy Weslosky>