Focus Graphite (CVE:FMS)(OTCQX:FCSMF) says it has hired Quebec-based Terrapex Environnement to assist the company in obtaining the required federal, provincial and municipal permits to develop its Lac Knife graphite project toward commercial production.
The Lac Knife project is located in the Cote-Nord region of northeastern Quebec, 27 km south-southwest of the iron-mining town of Fermont.
The news, which was announced late Thursday, follows the company's announcement earlier this week, when it posted the results of a preliminary economic assessment for the project.
Monday, the graphite explorer unveiled its long awaited PEA, showing average concentrate grades of 92% graphitic carbon.
With a mine life of 20 years, the open pit operation is expected to yield 300,000 tonnes per year, with life-of-mine production of 928,000 tonnes of concentrate at 92% graphitic carbon on average, or approximately 46,600 tonnes of concentrate per year.
Pre-tax net present value - at a 10% discount rate - was estimated at $246 million with a 32% pre-tax internal rate of return and a pre-tax payback period of 2.8 years.
Initial capital cost was projected at $154 million, inclusive of $33 million and $24 million in working capital and contingency (25 per cent), respectively.
The decision to start the permitting process follows one of the recommendations in the preliminary report. The PEA was prepared by Roscoe Postle Associates, and is filed on Sedar already.
"The hiring of Terrapex to assist Focus in its endeavours to obtain all regulatory approvals for Lac Knife together with the start of environmental and social impact studies are further evidence of our commitment to expedite the development of the project towards our goal of full commercial graphite production," said president and CEO, Gary Economo.
The mine permitting process in Quebec is made up of various federal, provincial and municipal authorizations for mine pre-development, permitting, road construction, mine construction, camp installation and other considerations.
To this end, Terrapex has already prepared a baseline regulatory framework for the project, which outlines all of the procedures the company must follow in order to comply with applicable regulations and obtain the certificate of authorization, it said.
As part of this process, Focus said it has started environmental auditing and baseline studies, advanced metallurgical testing, mine tailings and waste rock characterization, as well as archeology and biodiversity studies. This will lead to a full environmental and social impact report - anticipated to be wrapped up by the end of next year.
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