Positive results from the summer drill program at the La Loutre project and the acquisition of six new prospective graphite projects in Quebec position Lomiko Metals (TSXV: LMR; US-OTC: LMRMF) as a prominent explorer in the province — a graphite hotspot.
The most concentrated supply of natural flake graphite projects is found in the Grenville geological Province of Quebec — and Lomiko’s La Loutre project is at the centre.
Natural flake graphite is the most important component in all EV batteries on the market today, as 95% of the anode is made of graphite. It is also the heaviest mineral in the EV battery, making it costly and unsustainable to import.
Analysts are predicting a 30% surge in annual demand for graphite from the battery manufacturing sector over the next decade, and in the absence of new supplies, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence forecasts a deficit of 8 million tonnes of graphite by 2040.
Lomiko is developing the strategic stockpile of this critical mineral in Quebec to supply the domestic market.
The company holds a 100% interest in its fully permitted La Loutre graphite development project in southern Quebec, which comprises the Battery and EV zones, and drilling is designed for the preliminary feasibility study level data acquisition at the EV zone.
Lomiko holds 236 claims in total on six projects, all within the southern Laurentian region.
Summer 2022 drilling at La Loutre included 53 holes for a total of 8,999 metres in the EV Zone. One near-surface intersection in hole LL-22-008 cut 14.43% graphitic carbon (Cg) over 12.5 metres from 48.2 metres depth, with the same hole also cutting 11.31% Cg over 18.5 metres from 7.3 metres depth.
The goal of the summer campaign was to confirm results of the previous drilling campaigns, test the extension of the EV Zone and establish the extent of southern deposits.
“We are pleased to have discovered totally unknown mineralization at the EV deposit,” says Lomiko COO Gordana Slepcev. “We also are pleased with the initial assay results and grades from each of these first results – this is just the beginning, as we plan to release further assay results and complete the exploration campaign with [an] NI 43-101-compliant technical report in early 2023.
“The zones are open at depth and the grades at this stage are excellent. We’ll do some more follow up drilling to determine the extents,” she adds.
“We are now completing a 4,000-metre infill drill program at the Battery Zone and expect to finish drilling by mid-September.”
Mineral resources at La Loutre currently stand at 23.2 million indicated tonnes grading 4.51% graphitic carbon for 1 million tonnes of contained graphite and 46.8 million inferred tonnes grading 4.01% graphitic carbon for 1.9 million tonnes of graphite. The estimate was based on a cut-off grade of 1.5% graphite.
In July 2021, a preliminary economic assessment for La Loutre outlined an open-pit mine with a 15-year mine life producing 97,400 tonnes of graphite concentrate annually for a total of 1.4 million tonnes over the life of the mine. All-in sustaining costs are expected to average US$406 per tonne of graphite concentrate over the mine’s life.
Continued exploration is part of Lomiko’s resource expansion work and metallurgical work is also a precursor to the pre-feasibility study.
Slepcev says the company completed initial value-added metallurgical testing at the La Loutre graphite deposit in April, achieving strong purification results of over 99.95% carbon purity with very low levels of contaminants.
The company has also sent more than 800 kg of additional rock samples to SGS in Peterborough, Ont., for a study to support plant design and to produce flotation concentrate to be used in the further value-added and battery trials.
Lomiko is expecting metallurgical testing results by late October.
The company has also completed geophysical surveys for the six new graphite properties. The initial results are expected to be published in the fall.
ESG and community engagement
The La Loutre project is located about 45 km by road southwest of the city of Mont-Tremblant, within the traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg Kitigan Zibi community. Lomiko’s strategic advisor Anne Chabot is leading the engagement process.
“We also acknowledge and appreciate the community’s communications with us during the period of exploration drilling, and we will continue to respond to enquiries on all aspects of our ongoing program at La Loutre, and our leadership as a responsible ECOLOGO certified operator,” Slepcev notes. The company gained the ECOLOGO certification for mineral exploration, which validates companies’ responsible business practices, in March 2022.
“We aim to be part of a climate success story in southern Quebec.”
The preceding Joint-Venture Article is PROMOTED CONTENT sponsored by LOMIKO METALS and produced in cooperation with The Northern Miner. Visit www.lomiko.com for more information.