Great Lakes Graphite Inc. ("GLK" or the "Company") is pleased to provide an update on further metallurgical and purification work that involves analyzing and upgrading graphitic material taken in a bulk sample from the Company's Lochaber Graphite Project in southwestern Québec.
The bulk sample was selected and removed from a location in close proximity to both the historical Plumbago Mine site located on the Lochaber property as well as the most recent drill program conducted by GLK, with the objective of upgrading the graphitic material for certain high tech applications that require extremely high purity and conducting additional qualification testing with Great Lakes' customers.
The bulk sample was delivered to Process Research ORTECH ("PRO") in Mississauga, Ontario for processing. Great Lakes formed a technology partnership with PRO in June 2015 to commercialize a graphite purification process. PRO filed a Notice of Invention to protect the intellectual property that underpins the proprietary process of purifying flake graphite to 99.9%. The partnership agreement calls for Great Lakes Graphite and PRO to complete development work on the purification process, with a view towards high technology commercial applications and the work that is being carried out on this bulk sample is a continuation of this joint initiative. Results from this purity testing will be available in the third quarter of this year.
The main objective of the partnership is to develop a purification process to achieve a graphite product of +99% purity. The development program consists of:
- Physical beneficiation tests involving a combination of flotation and comminution to remove any gangue material adhered to the graphite flake and produce a high grade graphite concentrate.
- Chemical leaching with PRO's proprietary purification process to remove residual metal and oxide impurities to produce a high purity (+99%) graphite product.
Beneficiation of graphite concentrate to a 99%-plus purity level is a requirement for use in lithium-ion batteries and for other high technology applications. For example, semiconductor technology demands constant innovation and ultra-high-purity materials from suppliers. Products made from high-purity fine-grain graphite meet these requirements. Development of materials for wafer production processes and coatings enhance the purity of the next semiconductor generation, while extending the service life of materials at the same time.
Great Lakes Graphite CEO Paul Gorman said, "Having Lochaber as a potential source of long-term supply of high quality natural flake graphite is an important asset for our Company. While our immediate focus remains on upgrading imported material as well as developing a customer base in the synthetic graphite market, we will continue to work our long-term plan that will potentially include the development of a domestic resource base."
Qualified Person / Quality Control
The extraction of the bulk sample was supervised by QP Mr. Paul Nagerl, M.Sc., P.Geo. an independent qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101 guidelines. Mr. Nagerl has reviewed and approved the technical related content of this news release