OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 04/17/13 -- Focus Graphite Inc. (TSX VENTURE: FMS)(OTCQX: FCSMF)(FRANKFURT: FKC) ("Focus" or the "Company") is pleased to report the commissioning of its pilot plant and the start-up of circuit testing for the production of high-grade graphite concentrates from the Company's wholly-owned Lac Knife, Quebec graphite project.
The principal objectives of the pilot plant testwork are to confirm the results from Phase II bench scale Locked Cycle Tests (LCT)(i); to assess the technical viability and operational performance of the processing plant design; to generate tailings for environmental testing, and; to produce a range of graphite raw materials for customer assessments and for further upgrading.
The Lac Knife project pilot plant was designed and built and is being operated by SGS Canada Inc. ("SGS") in Lakefield, Ontario. The testing is expected to last 4-6 weeks.
Dr. Joseph Doninger, Focus Graphite's Director of Manufacturing and Technology said the pilot plant tests are a critical component of the Lac Knife project development program.
"The testwork will provide us with the information we need to refine and optimize the design our mineral processing flow sheet and adjust individual circuits. They'll also generate data needed for scale up of relevant processing equipment and to identify those critical controls required to maintain consistency of graphite concentrate recovery and purity.
"At the end of the day," Dr. Doninger said, "the pilot plant campaign will provide us with the knowledge and the ability to adjust our processes to produce high purity graphite concentrates to fit individual customers' needs and technical requirements."
On March 4, 2013, the Company published its preliminary Phase II LCT(i) results which confirmed the high purity of the concentrates generated from four composite core samples comprised of low-grade and semi-massive graphite with a head grade ranging between 6.0% C and 20.7% C.
The highlights of those tests conducted by SGS confirmed:
-- The average amount of graphite flake recovered from the core samples in the Phase II LCT increased to 92.2% compared with a recovery of 84.7% graphite flake in the Phase I LCT;-- The proportion of large flakes (+80 mesh) in the graphite concentrates ranged between 35% and 58%;-- The carbon content of graphite concentrates produced from the four (4) composites averaged 96.6 %C, including the fine flake fraction (-200 mesh), a 4.6% increase over Phase I LCT completed in mid-2012.
Final results for Phase II LCT including for the two composite drill core samples of massive graphite mineralisation are pending.
(i) A locked cycle test is a repetitive batch flotation test conducted to assess flow sheet design. It is the preferred method for arriving at a metallurgical projection from laboratory testing. The final cycles of the test are designed to simulate a continuous, stable flotation circuit.
Lac Knife Pilot Plant Testing Program
The pilot plant was designed, built and is being operated by SGS Canada Inc. ("SGS") in Lakefield, Ontario. The flow-sheet design for the pilot plant is based on the results of Phase II bench top LCT at SGS and on the findings of experimental test work conducted at Metchib Metallurgical Laboratories of Chibougamau, Quebec. The pilot plant is designed to operate in continuous mode at a feed rate of 200 kg per hour and it includes grinding mills, mechanical flotation cells, magnetic separator, flotation columns, classification devices, dewatering and other ancillary equipment such as power generation, electrical components, internal piping, a water distribution system and flotation reagent distribution. The grinding and floatation components of the circuit have been configured specifically to minimize flake wear and breakage and ensure maximize flake size preservation.