Metals Australia has announced several contracts to advance the Lac Rainy high-grade flake graphite project in Quebec, Canada.

These contracts are aimed at propelling the project towards pre-feasibility and enhancing its potential for battery-grade graphite production.

The first agreement, a metallurgical and laboratory services contract, has been signed with SGS Laboratories in Lakefield, Ontario.

This collaboration is expected to refine the project’s metallurgical processes.

Additionally, Metals Australia has engaged Metpro Management as a specialist client advisor to supervise the metallurgical test work programmes, which are crucial for the design of a flake-graphite concentrate plant.

A significant milestone for the project is the awarding of a pre-feasibility study (PFS) contract to Lycopodium, an integrated engineering, design and construction group.

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The PFS will focus on designing a plant capable of producing 100,000 tonnes per annum of flake-graphite concentrate, along with the necessary site infrastructure.

This study builds upon the positive outcomes of the 2021 scoping study, which highlighted the project’s potential for high operating margins over a projected 14-year mine life, based solely on the current resource.

Germany’s ANZAPLAN has been contracted to assess the purification options for downstream battery-grade spherical graphite (SpG) concentrate, determine the optimal plant location and conduct a scoping study.

To support the expansion of the mineral resource and explore new regional targets, Metals Australia also partnered with Magnor Exploration for drilling and full-service support.

Metals Australia CEO Paul Ferguson commented: “We are delighted to have locked in a series of critical project development and test-work contracts with leading global service providers as we continue our efforts to grow the Lac Rainy resource and accelerate the development of what we believe is a world-class flake-graphite project, located in one of the world’s best mining jurisdictions.

“Significantly, Metals Australia’s strong cash balance, which stood at $17.8m at the end of the March quarter, gives us the financial strength to rapidly advance our pipeline of development studies at Lac Rainy, while also continuing exploration programmes across our suite of other highly prospective projects in Canada and Australia.

“The work we are now advancing will significantly de-risk the project and bring it closer to development – at an ideal time when North America is seeking reliable supplies of critical minerals to establish or reorient its manufacturing base and supply logistics.”