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Focus Graphite Inc
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Focus Graphite begins graphite plant feasibility study

2015-04-09 11:15 ET - News Release

Mr. Don Baxter reports

PLAN NORD: FOCUS GRAPHITE ANNOUNCES A FEASIBILITY STUDY FOR VALUE ADDED GRAPHITE PRODUCTS

Focus Graphite Inc. has launched a feasibility study for the construction of a transformation plant for value-added graphite products in Sept-Iles, Que. The company's aim is to become the first Canadian producer and exporter of technology-grade graphite to meet the rising global demand for highly purified and shaped graphite used to manufacture anodes for lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, targeted specifically for use in hybrid and electric vehicles for the growing energy storage market.

The timing of the company's announcement coincides with the launch of the Quebec government's Plan Nord action plan for 2015 to 2020 -- its long-term economic and social development vision to sustainably develop the Northern Quebec territory between now and 2035. Focus is honoured to be one of the companies invited to attend the relaunch event of Quebec's Plan Nord.

As a stakeholder in Plan Nord, Focus Graphite is an advanced-stage flake graphite mine development company and sole owner of the Lac Knife, Que., mining project, located 30 kilometres south of Fermont, near the Quebec-Labrador border. Graphite produced from the proposed Lac Knife mine can be sold in conventional graphite markets, but the superior quality of the graphite produced presents a greater opportunity to supply technology-grade graphite to rechargeable battery markets and portable electronic devices.

In May, 2014, and in February, 2015, the company published its battery test results performed with Lac Knife spherical graphite. Those test results led to Focus's decision to proceed with its formal evaluation of a high-value graphite production plant. Currently, tests of the company's value-added materials are in progress with potential customers. Focus has also completed positive low-temperature thermal purification tests, and other physical sizing and shaping methodology tests that form the basis for the value-added graphite plant feasibility study now in progress.

The Lac Knife project has support from the local communities and a predevelopment agreement with the Innu First Nation of Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam that was announced in October, 2014. Focus Graphite met with local communities and key stakeholders during the mine feasibility study to be able to adjust the project to address concerns. These meetings will continue throughout the life of the mine.

Environmental sustainability throughout the company's mine-to-market value chain is critical to Focus's future customers. Both the Lac Knife and Sept-Iles development projects will be powered by clean energy supplied by Hydro-Quebec that will in turn supply clean, environmentally sustainable materials to the green energy sector.

The growing demand for lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles and the energy storage market associated to solar and wind energy creates market opportunities for value-added graphite products. In addition, market demand for graphite foils that are used to dissipate heat in portable electronic devices such as cellphones, computers, tablets and laptops is also growing.

Because of that anticipated demand, coupled with forecasted lower levels of production and export of graphite from China, graphite is now considered a critical material by the United States and the European Union.

Meanwhile, Focus continues to advance its $166-million structured project financing for the Lac Knife mine development project, and discussions to secure offtake agreements for the lithium-ion battery industry and other potential markets are in progress. In August, 2014, Focus Graphite published its positive feasibility study of the Lac Knife mine and concentrator, and it submitted its social and environmental impact assessment to the Quebec government in November, 2014.

Following completion of the graphite transformation feasibility study in 2015, Focus will make a definitive schedule for the mine project and the transformation plant. Third party analysts estimate the price of spherical graphite that is produced from natural flake graphite at $8,000 per tonne.

Qualified person

Don Baxter, PEng, Focus president and chief operating officer, is a qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101 guidelines, and has reviewed and approved the technical content of this news release.

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