Metallurgical test work on Metals Australia’s (ASX: MLS) Lac Rainy graphite ore has achieved commercial grade graphite concentrate.
Two 60kg samples were taken from the Canadian-based project, with a standard open circuit recovering 91% graphite and combined concentrate grades up to 96.7% total carbon.
SGS Canada carried out the testing using a comparable flowsheet to Focus Graphite’s (TSXV: FMS) nearby Lac Knife graphite deposit.
“These significant and highly encouraging results from SGS show that the graphite at Lac Rainy has the necessary grade and metallurgical characteristics to produce a commercial graphite concentrate, including that applicable to the battery industry,” Metals Australia director Gino D’Anna said.
“We were able to achieve a concentrate with recoveries of up to 91% at a grade of 96.7% total carbon – this is an exception result for a first pass testing program,” he said, adding there was “significant upside” to gain by optimising the flowsheet further to suit the Lac Rainy ore.
However, SGS advised Metals Australia the samples were taken from the surface and likely to have a degree of oxygenation. The consultant also emphasised this was preliminary test work and the samples analysed were not deemed representative of the overall graphite deposit due to the small size and distribution.
SGS has recommend Metals Australia use samples with more accurate representation of future mill feed when carrying out further testing.
Meanwhile, a diamond drilling program has been planned for early this year at Lac Rainy to investigate the grade, thickness and continuity of graphite mineralisation at the project.
“This drilling will generate more representative unoxidized samples of graphite mineralisation that will provide an opportunity to better refine the flowsheet and metallurgical performance of the Lac Rainy mineralisation,” Mr D’Anna said.
Situated in Quebec’s known graphite province, Lac Rainy is about 20km from a historic iron ore mining town and 15km from a sealed highway.
Encompassing 4,450 hectares, Lac Rainy includes 86 mineral claims and is adjacent to Focus Graphite’s Lac Knife deposit which hosts a measured and indicated resource of 13.6 million tonnes grading 14.95% carbon graphite and an inferred resource of 0.8mt grading 13.90% carbon graphite.
Metals Australia’s share price had dropped more 11% to A$0.008 by mid afternoon trade.