Great Lakes Graphite Inc.
, Stock Forum
) said Wednesday it is taking a series of steps aimed at putting its Quebec graphite property on the fast track towards a production startup.
Traders reacted by sending the stock up 12% to 9.5 cents, leaving Great Lakes with a market cap of $5.7 million, based on 60.4 million shares outstanding. The 52-week range is 17 cents and 5 cents.
The Toronto-based company said phase one of this program includes detailed field work, laboratory work and the completion of a National Instrument 43-101 compliant resource estimate for the flagship Lochaber Graphite Property.
The property covers almost 20 square kilometers and is located northeast of Gatineau, Que., between Ottawa and Montreal.
Great Lakes is positioning itself to supply high quality graphite to the lithium battery industry at a time when renewed interest in the graphite sector is being driven in part by Tesla Motors Inc.’s
, Stock Forum
) highly publicized plan to build a lithium-ion cell “Gigafactory” in the United States. It is expected to have enough cell capacity to produce up to 500,000 vehicles a year by 2020.
With the advancement of battery storage, mobile battery systems and alternative energy infrastructure, it has been estimated that 20 new graphite mines will be required to keep up with demand by the year 2020.
The Lochaber property is already known to be highly prospective for large, flake, crystalline graphite, the kind that is used to manufacture lithium-ion batteries.
The challenge for Great Lakes is to align itself with customers seeking a reliable supply of high quality graphite.
In keeping with that goal, the company recently extracted a bulk sample from the Lochaber property. The aim is to identify the best target markets and to advance discussions with prospective customers.
The 300 kilogram bulk sample has been delivered to a metallurgical testing facility in Mississauga, Ontario that specializes in graphite processing.
Test runs on the ore will include:
Particle size distribution analysis
“Testing of the material in [the bulk] sample will provide invaluable data on the percentage of large flake, for example, and will provide answers of what we need to begin the development of a PFD (Process Flowsheet Diagram) or mill design,’’ said Great Lakes senior vice-president, John Carter.
Meanwhile, work related to the resource calculation, which was announced on August 5th
, 2014, is proceeding on schedule. The company said it anticipates completion by early November.
Great Lakes is aiming to define a resource that is consistent with a small footprint/low CAPEX development plan.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Great Lakes Graphite is a Stockhouse Publishing client.