Graphite One Resources Inc. ("Graphite One" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that a first pass beneficiation test at Activation Laboratories Ltd. ("ActLabs"), Thunder Bay, Ontario, demonstrated a leaching process capable of producing a high purity of 99.2% graphitic carbon (Cg) from a rough concentrate.
Metallurgical test work from Graphite Creek material is ongoing to develop a simple concentration and leaching process to produce an ultra-high purity (99.9% Cg) graphite product.
Spherical graphite is used to make the anodes in Lithium-Ion batteries and is manufactured from the flake concentrate produced by graphite mining operations. Natural graphite produced from mining typically has recoveries from 70 per cent to 90+ per cent graphitic carbon, whereas synthetic graphite is usually greater than 99 per cent. With initial tests from Graphite Creek showing recoveries above 99 per cent, the company hopes to be positioned to compete in the $13-billion (1.5 million tonnes annually) synthetic market. Anthony Huston stated, "The Graphite Creek Property is the largest known flake graphite deposit in North America and we look forward to continuing to develop marketable graphite products to meet the global graphite demand, which is growing rapidly."
The Graphite Market
China currently produces approximately 70% of the world's graphite (world production is approximately 1,100,000 tonnes of which 400,000 is flake graphite) and has recently restricted exports by instituting an export tax. As well, the Chinese government has banned any new graphite plants and imposed strict environmental regulations on existing plants in Qingdao. A state owned amorphous graphite monopoly has been formed which will consolidate 210 amorphous graphite mines down to 20 and will reduce production capacity from 600,000 to 510,000 tonnes per year. The implementation of these new rules and standards will make graphite mines much more difficult to build and/or operate. Recently, South Graphite, which was formed in 2011 to consolidate all the amorphous graphite resources in Hunan, China (which is the world's largest graphite producer) and has a total production capacity of approximately 200,000 tonnes per annum, has been forced to shut all of its mines indefinitely until assessments and safety improvements have been carried out.
Graphite is an allotrope of carbon along with diamonds and coal. Graphite is the best known conductor of heat and electricity. Graphite and graphite powder are valued in industrial applications for their self-lubricating and dry lubricating properties. It maintains its strength and stability to temperatures in excess of 3,000°C and is resistant to chemical attack. Graphite demand was historically driven by the steel and automotive industries. Due to the industrialization of BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) economies, Graphite demand has steadily increased by 5% per annum since 2000. Global graphite demand is growing rapidly and is expected to continue based on new applications and green technologies, including but not limited to: hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs); plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEVs); battery-electric vehicles (BEVs); fuel cells; Lithium-Ion Batteries; Pebble Bed Nuclear Reactors; lubricants and Graphene.
As global demand grows, graphite prices have increased substantially, more than doubling over the past three years. Both the European Union and the United States have declared graphite a supply critical mineral.
About Graphite Creek
The Graphite Creek Property comprises 129 claims totaling 6,799 hectares on the Seward Peninsula of Alaska, 65 kilometres north of Nome. Mineralization at the Graphite Creek Property is characterized by coarse crystalline (large flake) graphite (greater than 80 mesh) within graphite-bearing schist(s). Graphite mineralization is exposed at surface. The large flake graphite occurs as disseminations and high grade segregations and lenses in distinctive sillimanite-garnet-quartz-biotite schist(s) and/or quartz-biotite schist(s). The host schist(s) is continuous over 18 kilometres of strike length, based on mapping, sampling and airborne geophysics. Please refer to the January 21, 2013 press release where Graphite One reports the filing of a NI43-101 Technical Report with an inferred resource of 164.5 million tonnes at 4.61% graphite (including 25.44 million tonnes at 9.69% graphite and 7.8 million tonnes at 13.49% graphite).
During 2011, Graphite One tested 3 samples from surface at the Graphite Creek area (where the 2012 drilling was focused) for flake size analysis. The samples analyzed included: (1) high grade rock grab samples (assayed 56.9%C); (2) mixed grade rock grab samples (disseminated and high grade material mixed (assayed 14.5%C)); and (3) rock grab samples with disseminated graphite (assayed 8.2% C). From these samples, 84.3%; 93.6% and 76.5% of graphite recovered are large flakes respectively (greater than 80 mesh). Specifically, the majority of the recovered graphite in the samples is considered to be large flake. Furthermore, the majority of the large flake graphite is greater than 40 mesh (64.8%, 65.8% and 73.3%, respectively) and is considered Jumbo Flake. The analytical work was conducted at Hazen Laboratories, Co, USA.
During 2012, Graphite One tested 4 samples from drill core for flake size analysis. The samples analyzed contained 8.7%, 13.7%, 14.9% and 8.0% Cg, respectively. From these samples 62.9%, 70%, 63.9%, and 59.3%* of the graphite recovered are large flakes (*samples were crushed to 10 mesh so results may be understated because the 2011 samples contained up to 10.5% +10 mesh material). The analytical work was conducted at Hazen Laboratories, Co, USA. Based on the 2011 and 2012 tests, the Graphite Creek Property is known to be a flake graphite deposit whereby the majority of the flake is considered to be large flake.