Nouveau Monde Mining Enterprises Inc. ("Nouveau Monde") is pleased to announce significant metallurgical results averaging 98.2% C(t) for all flake sizes and reaching as high as 99.1% C(t) for the jumbo flakes of +48 mesh. These metallurgical results are from the flowsheet development program that is currently being carried out at SGS Lakefield. The metallurgical work presented here was conducted on a master composite from the West Zone of the Tony Claim Block. This claim block is a key part of our Matawinie Graphite Property, located in the Saint-Michel-des-Saints area, approximately 130 km north of Montreal, Québec, Canada.
Eric Desaulniers, Geo, President & CEO of Nouveau Monde stated: "These results are based on very robust metallurgical testing methods developed by one of the most experienced metallurgical teams in graphite project development in North America. The key takeaway for us is that industry experts commonly agree that obtaining these exceptionally high purities on all flake sizes, from a simple low cost process, is one of the most important factors for a successful graphite project. As such, these results places Nouveau-Monde in the enviable position of being able to develop products suitable for multiple markets across the entire graphite sector, including the growing li-ion battery market."
The West Zone master composite was generated by combining a total of 364 individual drill core sub-samples. The samples form a composite that provides a representative spatial and grade distribution aimed at characterizing the metallurgical response of the West Zone ore. Sample locations are illustrated on a property map that can be downloaded using the following link: http://nouveaumonde.ca/wp-content/uploads/West_Zone_Metallurgy_20160504.pdf.
The objective of the metallurgical program was to develop a process that is suitable to upgrade the Tony Block mineralization into a high-grade graphite flotation concentrate, while minimizing flake degradation. The investigated mineral processing technologies included typical crushing, grinding and flotation processes employed in the industry. No thermal or chemical purification was attempted on the final flotation concentrate.
The proposed process for the Tony Block mineralization consists of a rougher and scavenger flotation, followed by polishing grinding and primary cleaning. After a classification stage, the intermediate concentrate is subjected to attrition scrubbing followed by secondary cleaning.
The table below (Table 1) summarizes the metallurgical test results for the West Zone master composite. The combined flotation concentrate yielded an excellent grade of 98.2% total carbon. The highest grade for an individual size fraction, 99.1% total carbon, was obtained for the +48 mesh products (jumbo size category) which makes up 13.3% of the graphite concentrate mass. With an additional 31.8% of the concentrate mass reporting to the -48/+80 mesh size fraction, the recovery for the large and jumbo flake sizes thus proved to total 45.1%. Meanwhile, the mass recovery for the medium-size category (-80/+150 mesh) is also high at 34.1%. Finally, only 20.8% of the mass reported to the fines (-150 mesh). The combined concentrate grade of the medium and large flake categories (greater than 150 mesh) was 98.5% total carbon.
|Table 1. Concentrate Flake Size Mass Distribution (%) and Total Carbon Grade (Ct %)
* All total carbon measured by LECO SC632
The total carbon recovery for the final flotation concentrate was 84.3%. This number is considered conservative due to the fact that the test was carried out as an open circuit batch test. A total of 11% of the carbon units in the feed reported to the intermediate tailings in this test.
The process optimization program thus improved on the combined concentrate grades obtained in 2015 scoping level studies which had produced graphite concentrates grading between 93.1% total carbon and 97.1% total carbon.
The results outlined above confirm the coarse flake size distribution and high purity of the graphite concentrates generated by the 2015 scoping level flotation tests. While the samples employed in the scoping level tests consisted of trench or drill core material from specific areas of the Tony Block target, the West Zone master composite was selected to be as representative as possible of the West Zone, including samples from all available drill holes.
FUTURE METALLURGICAL WORK
Variability flotation tests are presently being conducted on six composites from the West and South Zones. A master composite combining samples from both South zones (SW and SE) will also be processed in the near future.
The technical information in this news release was prepared by Eric Desaulniers, Geo, MSc, president and CEO of Nouveau-Monde and reviewed by Oliver Peters, MSc, P.Eng, MBA, Consulting Metallurgist for SGS and Principal Metallurgist of Metpro Management Inc. Both are qualified persons under National Instrument 43-101.