Alabama Graphite Corp. ("AGC" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that independent engineering firm AGP Mining Consultants Inc. ("AGP") of Barrie, Ontario has been awarded the definitive contract by AGC for the Feasibility Study of the Company's flagship project, the Coosa Graphite Project, located in Coosa County, Alabama, USA.
AGC is 100% owner of the Coosa Graphite Project - the only advanced-stage graphite project in the contiguous United States of America - and all requisite downstream secondary processing to develop and manufacture AGC's battery-graphite products is being conducted in the United States of America. Although AGC's proprietary, environmentally sustainable process to purify and manufacture battery-ready graphite is source agnostic, the Company's secondary process flowsheet has been optimized for Coosa Graphite Project material.
AGP produced the Company's Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") technical report for the Coosa Graphite Project (please refer to AGC's November 30, 2015 announcement entitled, 'Alabama Graphite Corp. Announces Positive Preliminary Economic Assessment for Coosa Graphite Project in Coosa County, Alabama, USA; Files Completed PEA NI 43-101 Technical Report'.
Note: A PEA is preliminary in nature. A PEA includes Inferred Mineral Resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as Mineral Reserves and there is no certainty that the PEA will be realized. Inferred Mineral Resources represent material that is considered too speculative to be included in economic evaluations. Additional trenching and/or drilling will be required to convert Inferred Mineral Resources to Measured or Indicated Mineral Resources. Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. There is no guarantee that all or any part of the Mineral Resource will be converted into a Mineral Reserve.
AGC's PEA diverges from others in the flake graphite development space in that it addresses both primary and secondary processing to produce specialty, ultra-high-purity graphite products, as opposed to sole primary processing to make traditional graphite concentrate. The forthcoming Feasibility Study will combine Detailed Engineering for Phase One production rates for both primary and secondary processing, per the PEA. The initial production rate is for 5,000 tonnes per annum ("tpa") of final, secondary-processed graphite - specifically, Coated Spherical Purified Graphite ("CSPG") engineered for use in secondary/rechargeable lithium-ion ("Li-ion") batteries, and its byproduct Purified Micronized Graphite ("PMG") for use in primary and secondary Li-ion battery applications - with built-in expansion to 15,000 tpa, commencing in year seven.
Due to the low initial production rate, the primary and the secondary processing plants will be modular and built off site. The oxidized, soft-rock geology of the Coosa Graphite Project allows for excavation of graphitic feed material without drilling and blasting. No crushing and grinding infrastructure will be required, allowing for flexibility in production rates. The Feasibility Study will explore increased production rates, as the market may require and will be based on the primary-processing Pilot Plant flowsheet, per the Company's February 3, 2016 announcement entitled, 'Alabama Graphite Corp. Reports Positive Pilot Plant Test Results for Coosa Graphite Project in Coosa County, Alabama, USA'. A modular plant construction will also potentially shorten time to production, pending the publication of a positive Feasibility Study.
In conjunction with the forthcoming Feasibility Study, AGC will concurrently commence a second Pilot Plant ("Pilot Plant 2") for secondary processing, exclusively for the production of CSPG and byproduct PMG. The flowsheet and equipment for Pilot Plant 2 are currently being finalized. Per the Company's May 1, 2017 announcement, entitled, 'Alabama Graphite Corp. Commences Production of greater than 150 Kilogram Stockpile of Sourced-and-Manufactured-in-USA Specialty Battery-Ready Graphite for End User Qualification', AGC is also currently producing and testing its more than 150-kilogram stockpile of sourced-and-manufactured-in-USA battery-ready graphite products. This stockpile development work will provide the basis for Pilot Plant 2.
The Company also announces that it has completed a positive preliminary environmental survey on the Coosa Graphite Project to commence the necessary environmental and mine permitting processes for the mining and primary-processing operations at the Coosa project site, which consists of 41,964 acres (16,982 hectares or more than 65 square miles), located on private land. The permitting process for the Coosa Graphite Project involves state-level permitting only via the Alabama Department of Environmental Management ("ADEM"). Independent engineering firm Thompson Engineering, of Mobile, Alabama is contracted as AGC's consultant leading the permitting process for the Coosa Graphite Project with ADEM.
Readers are cautioned that AGC is not yet in production and there is no guarantee that the Company will advance to full-scale production. If, following the completion of a Feasibility Study - which has not yet been commenced - AGC is able to advance the Coosa Graphite Project into production, the resulting graphite products would be sourced from within the contiguous United States and, as such, the Company may have a potential competitive advantage over other producers of value-added graphite materials sourced from other countries, regardless of whether said materials were processed and/or manufactured in the United States of America.