Metals Australia eyes metallurgical testing at Lac Rainy

Metals Australia (ASX:MLS) is set to begin metallurgical testwork programs to advance development pathways at its Lac Rainy Graphite Project in Quebec, Canada. 

CEO Paul Ferguson says these programs represent another ‘important’ step forward along the clear pathway that has been mapped out to develop the ‘world-class’ potential of the flake-graphite project. 

The testwork will use bulk samples of existing drillcore from two mineral resource zones: Southeast Carheil and Northwest Carheil. 

Metals Australia, which has a market capitalisation of $16.97 million, says the testwork will be carried out in 2 stages, starting with generating flake graphite concentrate using modified flow-sheet conditions designed to optimise the recovery of fine to medium flake for downstream spherical graphite production, alongside generating ‘large’ flake concentrate that can attract premium pricing. 

The second stage involves generating premium battery-grade coated spherical graphite (SpG), trialling chemical and thermal purification options to assess the preferred method for the production of premium battery grade SpG, followed by lithium-ion battery anode charging and durability testing. 

This work will expand on the purification and battery test results in 2023 and will result in the optimum SpG production method being adopted for more advanced development studies. 

“Building on our Scoping Study which indicates potential for an initial 14-year production mine life, we are committed to accelerating our Prefeasbility studies for the production and downstream processing of Lac Rainy’s high-grade flake-graphite project,” Ferguson says.

Results from the testwork will feed directly into the flake-graphite concentrate Prefeasibility Study (PFS), alongside the options assessment and Scoping Study into downstream spherical graphite-battery anode material production. 

Metals Australia notes the results will also guide the preferred location for the production facility. 

Ferguson says other work programs being advanced in conjunction with the testwork include environment and social impact studies, hydrogeological and geotechnical assessments, mineral resource estimation work, and finalising key inputs to mine planning and engineering design for the concentrate plant PFS. 

The company is also in final discussion with First Nations groups to secure approval for a ‘major’ new drilling program, aimed at significantly expanding and upgrading the existing Lac Rainy resource.

“We have also finalised our drilling plans and contract and look forward to our drilling permit applications being approved by the government authorities in Quebec.

“Our drilling program aims to extend and further define the mineral resource to allow expansion of the mining plan, as well as testing new regional targets where high-grade rock chips of up to 64.3% Cg have been generated. The fact we still have 25km of mineralised zones at Lac Rainy to drill test adds to our confidence that we will be able to significantly grow the existing mineral resource.”

Metals Australia is a battery minerals-focused explorer with assets in Quebec, Canada and Western Australia. The company’s Lac Rainy project is considered to be a ‘high-quality’ project in a ‘highly ranked’ and well-established mining jurisdiction. 

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Images: Metals Australia
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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.