Alabama Graphite Corp. ("AGC" or the "Company") is pleased to announce the initiation of the pilot plant at SGS Mineral Services ("SGS") of Lakefield, Ontario, for the Company's flagship 100%-owned Coosa Graphite Project, located in Coosa County, east-central Alabama, USA. In addition to running the Company's pilot plant, SGS will also conduct a variability analysis, flowsheet optimization and concentrate analysis of the Coosa graphite material.
Construction of the Coosa Graphite Project pilot plant is currently underway, with mechanical commissioning targeted for September 30, 2015. AGC's pilot plant was designed, is currently being built, and will be operated by SGS and managed by graphite-industry veteran metallurgist Oliver Peters, MSc, P.Eng., MBA (Consulting Metallurgist for SGS and Principal Metallurgist of Metpro Management Inc.). The pilot plant is anticipated to result in the production of multiple tons of graphite concentrate for the Company's specialty graphite development initiatives, in addition to conveying material to several potential offtake partners for evaluation. As announced on June 25, 2015, AGC has commenced the testing of graphite from its Coosa property for use in lithium-ion batteries, specifically the production of coated spherical graphite ("CSPG" or "battery-ready graphite") for use in lithium-ion battery anodes.
Approximately 200 tons total of graphitic material from the Coosa Graphite Project was excavated from 10 pit locations within the resource grid. The specific pit locations were targeted by Pierre Desautels, P.Geo., Principal Geologist of AGP Mining Consultants Inc. ("AGP") of Barrie, Ontario, in conjunction with Metal Mining Consultants Inc. of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, while working on updating the Coosa Graphite Project's resource model in support of the forthcoming updated Mineral Resource Estimate. AGP was awarded the contract for the Coosa Graphite Project's Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") (see news release dated July 27, 2015), scheduled for completion in Q4 of 2015. As announced on July 23, 2015, the Company's updated Mineral Resource Estimate is currently underway with Metal Mining Consultants and is scheduled for completion by the end of this month (September 2015).
The specific locations of the 10 pits within the resource grid were selected to accurately represent the full spectrum of the deposit - from the spatial extent of the deposit, to the variability in grade and flake-size distribution demonstrated during exploration. In August 2015, approximately 20 tons of graphitic material was excavated from each pit. The excavated material was stockpiled, and subsequently crushed and bagged in one-tonne super sacks on the Coosa property. Nine flatbed trucks drove to the Coosa Graphite Project, loaded a total of 180 super sacks and transported the material directly to SGS, underscoring the Coosa project's ease of access and established area infrastructure. (NOTE: To view the Alabama Graphite Corp. Coosa Graphite Project Summer 2015 Drilling Program Map and Bulk Test Pits, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/1025005-Map.pdf).
Co-Chief Executive Officer Donald Baxter, P.Eng., commented, "AGC has reached yet another significant milestone with the commissioning of our pilot plant at SGS, which is a critical component of Coosa's mine development plan. By the fourth quarter this year, we expect to have multiple tons of our finished graphite for our specialty graphite development initiatives (namely coated spherical graphite for use in anodes in the expanding lithium-ion battery market), and to convey to several potential offtake partners for evaluation. I recently spent one week onsite at the Coosa property to supervise the preparation of the bulk sample, and was pleased with efficiency of our team and the ease of preparing the material for transport.
"As one of very few mining engineers outside China to have ever mined and processed flake graphite, I can attest to the advantageous characteristics of our weathered (oxidized) soft, graphitic material," Mr. Baxter said.
President and Co-Chief Executive Officer, Ron Roda also attended the Coosa Graphite Project to oversee operations and to join Mr. Baxter in meeting and touring the property with local stakeholders, including Coosa County Probate Judge and Chairman of the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative, the Honorable Terry Mitchell, and Coosa County Commissioner, Mr. Paul J. Perrett, who were on hand to observe the bulk sample preparation activities. Mr. Roda stated, "After meeting with Judge Mitchell and Mr. Perrett, we are very pleased with the support AGC has received from various levels of government from within the state and, in particular, our local stakeholders."
Alabama Graphite remains on schedule to publish the PEA in Q4 2015, incorporating the Company's drill results from 2012 to summer 2015, and the forthcoming updated NI 43-101 Mineral Resource Estimate in September 2015.
Donald K. D. Baxter, P.Eng., co-Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, is a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101") guidelines, and has reviewed and approved the technical content of this press release.