Mason Graphite Announces New Board Member and Details Other Activities
MONTREAL, QUEBEC–(Marketwired – Nov. 22, 2017) - Mason Graphite Inc. (“Mason Graphite” or the “Company”) (TSX VENTURE:LLG)(OTCQX:MGPHF) and its Board of Directors are pleased to announce the appointment of Patrick Godin, Eng., ASC, as a Director as of November 23, 2017.
Patrick Godin’s extensive experience in project development and operations will be highly valuable to the Company as it moves forward. Mr. Godin is currently Chief Operating Officer of Stornoway Diamond Corporation where he has overall responsibility for the development of the Renard Diamond Project in north-central Québec, which was recently put into production. Prior to joining Stornoway, Mr. Godin acted as Vice-President, Project Development for G Mining Services and, among other, participated in the development of the Essakane Mine in Burkina Faso under contract to IAMGOLD. He was previously Vice-President of Operations for Canadian Royalties, specifically heading the development of their nickel project in northern Québec.
The Company would like to report that it has accepted the resignation of M. Alastair Neill from its Board of Directors and would like to thank M. Neill for its contribution to the progress of the Company over the last five years.
New Appointment to Managing Team
Mason Graphite has appointed Mrs. Genevieve Gauthier, P. Eng., as Director, Metallurgy and Processes. For the last ten years, Mrs. Gauthier has been working for Soutex as mineral processing engineer for iron, gold and graphite ores. Over the last four years, she was instrumental in developing with Mason Graphite’s team the concentration process of Lac Guéret Project and she significantly contributed to the Feasibility Study and pre-execution work. In her new position within Mason Graphite, she will be responsible for the integration of the process during execution and be involved with the laboratory, commissioning and training of the employees.
Work Underway on Access Roads
Construction of the access road leading to the plant site in Baie-Comeau, an extension of highway 389 currently under construction by the Quebec Government, should be completed by year end. The access to the site via this road segment is already possible and the services, such as water and sewer, are already in place.
Furthermore, Mason Graphite has awarded two contracts for the logging road (202) linking the Lac Guéret Project to highway 389: one for snow clearing and one for road maintenance. Work is underway. This will allow starting construction at the mine and campsite once permitting and financing are completed.
The timing of the construction start will be mostly dictated by the timing of the decree from the Provincial Government, which is expected early 2018. The construction start will be possible shortly after as detailed engineering for the mine and the concentrator civil work is sufficiently advanced. Purchase orders for engineering of the processing equipment with long leads (such as grinding mills) have been placed with the suppliers.
While advancing with detailed engineering, Mason Graphite is following an owner’s built construction model. In parallel, the Company is also evaluating a potential Engineering, Procurement and Construction (“EPC”) contract. In both models, the Company has full oversight and ownership of the Project.
Since the publication of the Feasibility Study results in 2015, improvements have been made to the design of the operations, such as: changes to the layout of the buildings at plant site to take advantage of geotechnical work performed in 2015 and 2016, re-location of the crusher from the mine to the plant and streamlining of the dry process. Several other aspects of the operations were optimized throughout the pre-execution work and detailed engineering.
Moreover, following consultation with the local communities, the Company has changed the tailings’ storage method from a submerged tailing pond to dry-stacking, which eliminates the risk of a dam breach. Over the life of the Project, dry stacking requires less total capital expenditures than a tailing pond. Sustaining capital expenditures will be lower (no dam walls to build) but the initial investment will be higher to account for the filtration plant and effluent treatment plant construction. Another advantage of dry stacking is the possibility to do progressive rehabilitation.
Considering all of the above, the advanced detailed engineering, the completed pre-execution works, the finalized negotiations with the main equipment manufacturers and costs inflation since 2015, the overall final construction capital expenditures should be about C$200M of which approximately C$25M was originally included in the sustaining capital expenditures. Consequently, these are reduced accordingly over the life of the project. This permutation has a marginal impact on the economics of the project.
Furthermore, the Company has been working with external technical partners to neutralize and transform those tailings into sellable products, which could have a meaningful impact on the economics of the project. Further information on this topic will be communicated later.
As of today, the Company’s cash position is more than $12M enabling it to continue the ongoing work.
Sustainable Development Partnership Renewed
The agreement with the Réserve de la Biosphère de Manicouagan-Uapishka (“RMBMU”) has been renewed. Mason Graphite and the RMBMU have been working together since June 2015 and this partnership led to a very successful sustainable development, recently demonstrated by the Company’s nomination by the AEMQ (Association de l’exploration minière du Québec) for its excellence in sustainable development, and a strong support from local stakeholders. Yet, community relations and social acceptance is a continuous process and this new agreement with the RMBMU will ensure a continuity in local relations and allow the Company to remain proactive through the construction phase and during production.
Value-Added Products and Battery Materials Programs
The Company’s battery materials program is progressing well, having completed most of the processes related to micronization, purification, spheronization and coating aimed at two different battery grades. After working directly with equipment manufacturers in Japan, the spheronization process is generally exceeding Asian industry standards. The work done with the NRC on coating resulted in performances that are in line with the performance goals established by the Benchmarking Phase completed in 2015. Mason Graphite expects to be able to soon enter the Demonstration Phase during which the detailed engineering will be conducted and economics will be established on the basis of the procurement guidance from eventual customers.
Furthermore, Mason Graphite has entered into an agreement with the National Research Council of Canada (“NRC”) to participate in LiBTec, a new initiative recently launched by the NRC aimed at developing and supporting the Canadian supply chain in value added graphite and lithium materials, specifically for lithium-ion battery applications. LiBTec will facilitate the integration of stakeholders in the supply chain, support the development of materials, and achieve the development of graphite-silicon anode materials aimed at increasing battery performance.
QUALIFIED PERSONS CONSENT
Jean L’Heureux, Eng., M. Eng., Executive Vice-President, Process Development for Mason Graphite, and a Qualified Person, as defined by NI 43-101, was responsible for verifying the technical data herein and has read and approved this press release.
About Mason Graphite and the Lac Guéret Project
Mason Graphite is a Canadian mining and processing company focused on the development of its 100% owned Lac Guéret natural graphite deposit located in northeastern Québec. The Company is led by a highly experienced team that has over five decades of experience in graphite production, sales, and research and development. For more information, visit www.masongraphite.com.
Mason Graphite Inc. On Behalf of the Board
Benoît Gascon, CPA, CA, President & Chief Executive Officer
This press release contains “forward-looking information” within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation. All information contained herein that is not clearly historical in nature may constitute forward-looking information. Generally, such forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “plans”, “expects” or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “estimates”, “forecasts”, “intends”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, or “believes”, or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will be taken”, “occur” or “be achieved”. Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including but not limited to: (i) volatile stock price; (ii) the general global markets and economic conditions; (iii) the possibility of write-downs and impairments; (iv) the risk associated with exploration, development and operations of mineral deposits; (v) the risk associated with establishing title to mineral properties and assets; (vi) the risks associated with entering into joint ventures; (vii) fluctuations in commodity prices; (viii) the risks associated with uninsurable risks arising during the course of exploration, development and production; (ix) competition faced by the resulting issuer in securing experienced personnel and financing; (x) access to adequate infrastructure to support mining, processing, development and exploration activities; (xi) the risks associated with changes in the mining regulatory regime governing the resulting issuer; (xii) the risks associated with the various environmental regulations the resulting issuer is subject to; (xiii) risks related to regulatory and permitting delays; (xiv) risks related to potential conflicts of interest; (xv) the reliance on key personnel; (xvi) liquidity risks; (xvii) the risk of potential dilution through the issue of common shares; (xviii) the Company does not anticipate declaring dividends in the near term; (xix) the risk of litigation; and (xx) risk management.
Forward-looking information is based on assumptions management believes to be reasonable at the time such statements are made, including but not limited to, continued exploration activities, no material adverse change in metal prices, exploration and development plans proceeding in accordance with plans and such plans achieving their stated expected outcomes, receipt of required regulatory approvals, and such other assumptions and factors as set out herein. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such forward-looking information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking information. Such forward-looking information has been provided for the purpose of assisting investors in understanding the Company’s business, operations and exploration plans and may not be appropriate for other purposes. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Forward-looking information is made as of the date of this press release, and the Company does not undertake to update such forward-looking information except in accordance with applicable securities laws.
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Vice-President Corporate Development
+1 (647) 801-7273
For more information relating to local communities:
Luc Veilleux, CPA, CA
Executive Vice-President and CFO
+1 (514) 289-3582