Reflex Advanced Materials Corp. reported that geologic exploration for the Ruby Graphite project commenced in the fall of 2022. The Ruby Graphite project (Project) encompasses approximately 2,000 acres and 96 federal lode mining claims in Beaverhead County, Montana, USA. In September, the Company obtained an option to purchase 100% ownership of the Project.
Ethos Geological (Ethos) of Bozeman, Montana, was contracted by Reflex to oversee the exploration effort, locate probable graphite-bearing locations, and create a geological model of the stratigraphy and structure.
Ethos’ geologic investigations reveal that the Project geology evolved from an ancient marine sequence of muds, silts, and carbonates; that vast algal mats were believed to have existed in this Archean environment over 2.5 billion years ago; and that these sedimentary rocks were most likely the source of carbon for vein and flake graphite mineralization created during metamorphism and later hydrothermal alteration.
Furthermore, Ethos’ geological investigations indicate that the diversity of carbon inside the host sedimentary rocks contributes to the concentration of graphite at the Ruby Project, while historical and current mine sites around the region experience talc with just minimal accompanying graphite.
Ethos carried out the following research during the initial geologic work, which lasted from August until November:
- Extensive geological field mapping.
- Rock samples were collected from 25 different places and submitted for chemical fingerprinting to help with lithology and structure mapping.
- Soil survey, with 201 samples collected at 25-m intervals along three lines and examined for pH and geochemistry to identify lithology changes across the property.
- Comprehensive photogrammetry and elevation modeling using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV or drone).
- Employed a GEM-2 Ski by Geophex Ltd., a multifrequency electromagnetic (EM) handheld survey tool, to capture approximately 100 line-km of surface EM data at 200 m spacing.
- Engaged KLM Geoscience LLC to carry out an Induced Potential (IP) survey along three lines, each roughly 1500 m long at 50-m dipole spacing, to identify potential graphite-bearing intervals by looking for electrically conductive and charged anomalies.
The preliminary findings indicate multiple conductive tendencies that correlate well between the shallow GEM-2 EM survey and the deeper IP survey. These possibly graphite-bearing trends are more widespread than Reflex management and historic workers anticipated. There is no guarantee that the reported conductive trends reflect commercial graphite resources because the identified trends must be confirmed through core drilling.
Ethos Geological is now compiling an NI 43-101 Technical Report to record the exploration work done in 2022, including the Property’s conductivity finds. The report, assays, and geophysics are anticipated to be released in Q1 2023. The report includes recommendations for core drilling in 2023, in addition to the continuation of more geophysical surveys and other activities considered appropriate for this stage of the program.
We are very excited about the potential identification of multiple conductivity trends across the Project area. The existence of these conductive trends would be the initial proof of concept we were seeking, which is that the old Ground Hog and Bird’s Nest mines, located at the property, may not be isolated graphite occurrences, but may be two surface exposures of more extensive graphite-bearing trends – we are connecting the dots. We expect to proceed with on-the-ground verification of the presence and grade of the graphite occurrences by conducting our initial drilling program in the early summer of 2023.
Paul Gorman, CEO, Reflex Advanced Materials Corp.
The Project is situated in the southwest portion of the Ruby Range mountains in southwestern Montana, about 14 miles (22 km) southeast of the town of Dillon. The Ruby Graphite project area has both private and public holdings comprising 1,945 acres (787 ha), as well as 96 lode mining claims totaling 1,764 acres (714 ha). The federal mining claims grant the right to explore, mine, and extract minerals from the lands.
The Ruby Graphite site has a previously mined natural graphite deposit that was known as the Crystal Graphite Company and yielded more than 2,000 metric tons of vein graphite between 1901 and 1948. Around 1950, a fire destroyed the small concentration mill and half of the mining camp, and the site was abandoned and mostly forgotten. Reflex intends to restart graphite production at the Project and become the only natural graphite mine in the United States.