Focus Reports that Initial Locked Cycle Flotation Tests on Lac Tétépisca Mineralisation Achieve 92.7 % Graphite Recovery and Concentrate Grades of 96.2% Carbon for all Flake Sizes Combined

focus graphite

OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – Feb. 1, 2017) – Focus Graphite Inc. (TSXV:FMS,OTCQX:FCSMF,FWB:FKC) is pleased to report initial Locked Cycle flotation Test1 (LCT) results from its 100%-owned Lac Tétépisca Graphite Project (“the Project”) located southwest of the Manicouagan reservoir in the Côte-Nord administrative region of north-eastern Québec. The LCT was performed by SGS Canada Inc. (SGS) on a 155 kg Master composite graphite mineralization sample. Further open circuit cleaner testing was conducted on six variability graphite mineralization samples (total: 108 kg).

Highlights:

  • The LCT produced an overall graphite recovery of 92.7% total Carbon2 (Ct)
  • The average grades of the “jumbo” (+48 mesh) and “large” (-48/+80 mesh) flake categories were 95.6% Ct and 95.0% Ct, respectively
  • The “medium” sized flakes (-80/+100 mesh) graded 96.3% Ct
  • The “fine” flake products (-100/+200 mesh) yielded an average grade of 97.7% Ct
  • These initial test results indicate that all concentrate size fractions above 400 mesh have a high carbon grade ranging from 95.0% Ct to 97.8% Ct. High carbon flake graphite concentrates translate into reduced levels of impurities to be removed during the purification process.

The principal objectives of the scoping level metallurgical test program were to design a conceptual flotation flowsheet that can upgrade the Lac Tétépisca graphite mineralization into a concentrate grading at least 96% Ct while minimizing flake size degradation.

The conceptual flowsheet was developed using results from a series of 14 flotation tests and the closed-circuit performance was evaluated in a LCT. The flotation test program was completed on a 155 kg Master composite and six variability samples (total: 108 kg) originating from representative Lac Tétépisca graphite mineralization. The LCT produced an overall graphite recovery of 92.7% at a combined concentrate grade of 96.2% Ct.

Focus President and CEO Gary Economo said: “These initial Locked Cycle flotation test results serve as an excellent starting point for future optimization of the conceptual Lac Tétépisca concentrator process flow sheet”.

“Lac Tétépisca has the potential to meet our future supply obligations for graphite-based polymers for the automotive and other industries, whereas our flagship Lac Knife project’s high purity concentrate production is planned for clean technology, renewable energy markets that require high quality coated spherical graphite,” Mr. Economo added.

In 2014, Focus conducted a preliminary metallurgical characterization of a 10 kg composite channel sample of graphite mineralization from the Lac Tétépisca project. The metallurgical test work which was carried out at SGS in Lakefield, Ontario, achieved a carbon content averaging 94.7% Ct for all flake sizes above 200 mesh, including 97.7% Ct for +80 mesh flake – a quality that is critical to the lithium ion battery market (refer to Focus news release dated October 20, 2014 available at www.focusgraphite.com and at www.sedar.com).

The flake size distribution in the concentrate that was generated in the LCT using the 2016 Master composite is presented in Table 1. A total of 17.2% of the concentrate mass reported to the “jumbo” flake category (+48 mesh). The “large” flake category (-48/+80 mesh) contained 20.5% of the concentrate mass. Another 7.9% of the mass reported to the “medium” flake size fraction (-80/+100 mesh) (Table 1).

Interestingly, the finer flake size distribution classes (+400/-100 mesh) also reported carbon grades above 95% Ct.

Table 1: Lac Tétépisca concentrate flake size distribution and total carbon (Ct) grades.

Category Size Fraction
Mesh
Size Fraction
Microns
Weight
%
Assays
% Ct
Distribution
% Ct
Jumbo +32 mesh +500 4.2 95.8 4.1
+48 mesh +300 13.0 95.6 12.9
Large +65 mesh +212 13.5 95.0 13.4
+80 mesh +180 7.0 95.0 6.9
Medium +100 mesh +150 7.9 96.3 7.9
Fine +150 mesh +106 13.0 97.8 13.2
+200 mesh +75 15.4 97.7 15.7
Very Fine +325 mesh +45 15.8 96.7 15.9
+400 mesh +38 3.6 95.2 3.6
-400 mesh -38 6.6 92.9 6.4
Total: 100.0 100.0

A total of six variability composites ranging from low-grade disseminated material grading 3.81% graphitic carbon2 (Cg) to high-grade massive mineralization grading 22.3% Cg produced consistent metallurgical results when subjected to the developed flowsheet conditions.

The combined concentrate grades for the six variability samples ranged from 95.4% Ct to 97.8% Ct with open circuit graphite recoveries of 84.9% to 91.6%.

The mass recovery into the “large” and “jumbo” flake categories for the six variability composites ranged between 31.8% for the massive mineralization composite, to 62.0% for the low-grade disseminated composite.

1 A Locked Cycle Test (LCT) is a repetitive batch flotation test conducted to assess flow sheet design. It is the preferred method for arriving at a metallurgical projection from laboratory testing. In a LCT the intermediate products are incorporated in the following cycles, thus simulating a continuous flotation circuit on a laboratory scale.

2 All carbon analyses were performed by SGS Canada Inc. (“SGS”) and are reported as total carbon (“Ct”). The analytical methods that were used to determine the metallurgical results included total carbon analysis by Leco on the final concentrates. Total carbon assays are for the higher graphite concentrate grades, whereas graphitic carbon (“Cg”) assays are for drill core and it is a more accurate method when graphitic carbon content is lower than approximately 50% Cg.

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About SGS Metallurgical Services (Lakefield)

SGS Canada Inc. (SGS) is recognized as a world leader in the development of concentrator flowsheet design and pilot plant testing programs. SGS’ Metallurgical Services division was founded over half a century ago. Its metallurgists, hydro-metallurgists and chemical engineers are experienced in all the major physical and chemical separation processes utilized in the recovery of metals and minerals contained in resource properties around the world.

Qualified Person

The information pertaining to the metallurgical test program completed by SGS that is presented in this news release has been reviewed and approved by Mr. Oliver Peters, M.Sc., P.Eng., MBA, Consulting Metallurgist for SGS Canada Inc. and Principal Metallurgist of Metpro Management Inc. Mr. Peters has extensive experience in the development of metallurgical processes and has managed the majority of the graphite testing programs conducted at SGS in recent years.

Mr. Marc-André Bernier, M.Sc., P.Geo. (Québec and Ontario), a Director of the Company and a Qualified Person under National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects, has reviewed and approved the technical content of this news release relating to the Lac Tétépisca project metallurgical test results.

About the Lac Tétépisca Graphite Project

Focus Graphite’s 100%-owned Lac Tétépisca Graphite Project consists of 87 contiguous map-designated claims (“CDC”) covering 4,692.82 ha. The Project is located in the Southwest Manicouagan reservoir area, 234 km north-northwest of Baie-Comeau, an industrial city located where the Manicouagan River intersects the North shore of St. Lawrence River. The Project is accessible year-round by logging roads that connect to Highway 389, which in turn connects to Baie-Comeau.

Focus discovered graphitic mineralization at Lac Tétépisca as a result of prospecting and trenching work conducted in 2012 and in 2013. In 2014, the Company drilled 16 shallow holes along four fences spaced 200 m apart (total: 1,875 m). The drilling covered a 600 m strike length section of a 1.5-km long electromagnetic (EM) conductor mapped by a combined magnetic (MAG)-EM ground geophysical survey and now referred to as the “Manicouagan Ouest Graphitic Corridor” (MOGC). Eleven (11) holes intersected significant graphitic mineralisation including hole LT-14-04 which intersected 103.9 m (true thickness) grading 10.25% Cg (refer to Focus news releases August 17, 2016 available at www.focusgraphite.com and at www.sedar.com).

In 2016, Focus drilled an additional 18 holes (total: 2,424 m) to test the continuity of the graphitic mineralization within the MOGC with respect to the variability of graphitic carbon thickness and grades. Fifteen (15) holes intersected significant graphitic mineralization with grades ranging from 5.6% Cg to 19.35% Cg over a minimum true thickness of 6.2 m. Hole LT-16-32 intersected 102.1 m (true thickness) grading 10.7% Cg (refer to Focus news releases dated January 20, 2017 available at www.focusgraphite.com and at www.sedar.com).

A map of the Lac Tétépisca project is available on the Company’s website at www.focusgraphite.com.

About Focus Graphite

Focus Graphite Inc. is an advanced exploration and mining company with an objective of producing graphite concentrate at its wholly-owned Lac Knife flake graphite deposit located 27 km south of Fermont, Québec. In a second stage, to meet Quebec stakeholder interests of transformation within the province and to add shareholder value, Focus is evaluating the feasibility of producing value added graphite products including battery-grade spherical graphite.

The Lac Knife project hosts a Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource* of 12.1 million tonnes grading 14.64% Cg (447,000 tonnes Measured @ 21.45% Cg and 11,654,000 tonnes Indicated @ 14.38% Cg) as natural flake graphite with an additional Inferred Mineral Resource* of 2.3 million tonnes grading 16.20% Cg. Focus’ goal is to assume an industry leadership position by becoming a low-cost producer of technology-grade graphite concentrate.

The Feasibility Study filed with SEDAR (www.sedar.com) on August 8, 2014 for the Lac Knife Project indicates the project is economically viable and has the potential to become a low cost graphite concentrate producer based on 7.86 million tonnes of Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves** grading 15.13% Cg included in the Mineral Resource (429,000 tonnes Proven @ 23.61% Cg and 7,428,000 tonnes Probable @ 14.64% Cg).

On May 27, 2014, the Company announced the potential for high value added sales in the Li-ion battery sector following battery coin cell tests performed on Spherical Graphite (“SPG”) produced from the Lac Knife graphite concentrate. Testing measured the performance metrics and confirmed Focus’ capability to tailor lithium ion battery-anode-grade graphite and value added products to meet the most stringent customer specifications.

On February 26, 2015, the Company announced the results from independent laboratory testing that indicated Coated Spherical Graphite (“CSPG”) produced from Lac Knife concentrate outperformed synthetic graphite anodes for use in lithium-ion batteries.

On November 25, 2015, the Company announced results from independent laboratory testing that reported “zero loss” in long-term battery anode cycle testing of high purity CSPG produced from Lac Knife concentrate.

On March 31, 2016, the Company announced the introduction of a high conductivity graphite cathode material produced from expanded Lac Knife graphite and exhibiting twice the conductivity of cathodes versus standard grades of synthetic and natural flake graphite used in commercially available lithium-ion batteries.

On August 8, 2016, the Company announced it has successfully purified fine flake graphite – sourced at its wholly owned Lac Knife, Québec deposit – from 95% to 99.99% purity using a proprietary energy efficient purification process. Attaining a 99.99% purity level from fine graphite flake is significant. Focus now has the technology to economically purify low value fine flake graphite or, “fines” to a high value material needed for the production of lithium-ion batteries.

On August 24, 2016, the Company released channel sampling results from its wholly-owned Lac Tétépisca Nord graphite project. An 86.8 m long trench crosscut 67.2 m grading 6.75% Cg.

On November 21, 2016, the Company and Joint-Venture partner SOQUEM Inc. reported high hydrometallurgical recoveries of rare earth elements (REE) from the Kwyjibo REE project. The extraction rate from rare earth concentrate is approximately 90% for all REE within the Magnetitite Mineralization Type (MM1). The relatively simple metallurgical flowsheet is a distinctive feature of the Kwyjibo project among peer rare earth elements projects.

On January 25, 2017, the Company announced an updated Mineral Resource Estimate for its Lac Knife flake graphite project. Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources increased by 26% when reported at a cut-off of 3.0% Graphitic carbon (Cg) to 12.1 million tonnes grading 14.64% Cg compared to the previous estimate of 9.6 million tonnes grading 14.77% Cg at the same cut-off prepared in 2014.

Focus Graphite is a technology-oriented graphite mining 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.

* Mineral Resources are not Mineral Reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability.

** The Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources are inclusive of those Mineral Resources modified to produce Mineral Reserves. The reference point for the Mineral Reserve Estimate is the mill feed.

For more information about Focus Graphite, please visit www.focusgraphite.com.

Forward Looking Statement

This News Release contains “forward-looking information” within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation. All information contained herein that is not clearly historical in nature may constitute forward-looking information. Generally, such forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “plans”, “expects” or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “estimates”, “forecasts”, “intends”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, or “believes”, or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will be taken”, “occur” or “be achieved”. Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including but not limited to: (i) volatile stock price; (ii) the general global markets and economic conditions; (iii) the possibility of write-downs and impairments; (iv) the risk associated with exploration, development and operations of mineral deposits; (v) the risk associated with establishing title to mineral properties and assets; (vi) the risks associated with entering into joint ventures; (vii) fluctuations in commodity prices; (viii) the risks associated with uninsurable risks arising during the course of exploration, development and production; (ix) competition faced by the Company in securing experienced personnel and financing; (x) access to adequate infrastructure to support mining, processing, development and exploration activities; (xi) the risks associated with changes in the mining regulatory regime governing the Company; (xii) the risks associated with the various environmental regulations the Company is subject to; (xiii) risks related to regulatory and permitting delays; (xiv) risks related to potential conflicts of interest; (xv) the reliance on key personnel; (xvi) liquidity risks; and (xvii) the risk of potential dilution through the issue of common shares.
Forward-looking information is based on assumptions management believes to be reasonable at the time such statements are made, including but not limited to, continued exploration activities, no material adverse change in metal prices, exploration and development plans proceeding in accordance with plans and such plans achieving their stated expected outcomes, receipt of required regulatory approvals, and such other assumptions and factors as set out herein. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such forward-looking information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking information. Such forward-looking information has been provided for the purpose of assisting investors in understanding the Company’s business, operations and exploration plans and may not be appropriate for other purposes. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Forward-looking information is made as of the date of this News Release, and the Company does not undertake to update such forward-looking information except in accordance with applicable securities laws.

Neither the 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 accuracy of this release.

Focus Graphite Inc.
Mr. Gary Economo
Chief Executive Officer
+1 613-241-4040
geconomo@focusgraphite.com
www.focusgraphite.com

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