Northern Graphite comments on Namibia lithium ban

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Northern Graphite Corp. [NGC-TSXV; NGPHF-OTCQB] has commented in news reports that Namibia, home to the company’s Okanjande graphite project, has banned the export of unprocessed lithium and other critical minerals.

“We have consulted with the Ministry of Mines and Energy of Namibia, and we have been assured that this ban only applies to unprocessed ore and, as such, should have no bearing on our plans to mine and process graphite-bearing resources into concentrate at Okanjande,’’ said Northern Graphite CEO Hugues Jacquemin.

“This prohibition applies strictly to unprocessed critical minerals,’’ he said. “Value should be added up to at least concentrate, carbonate/hydroxide level,’’ said Andreas Simon, a spokesperson for Namibia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy, in a statement provided to Northern Graphite.

Okanjande is one of two graphite mines that Northern Graphite agreed to acquire in December, 2021, from French industrial minerals company Imerys Group for US$40 million, a move that was described as “transformational” for the company.

Those assets included the producing Lac des Iles graphite mine in Quebec and the Okanjande graphite deposit/Okorusu processing plant in Namibia. The Namibian project was held by Imerys and a joint venture partner.

The Okanjande project, due to come back on line in 2024, will involve mining and processing of graphite-bearing material and exporting concentrates to supply traditional markets, as well as to the fast-growing electric vehicle industry, Northern Graphite said in the press release that came after the close of trading on June 22, 2023, when Northern Graphite shares closed at 38 cents.

The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of 72 cents and 37 cents.

Northern Graphite is a mineral development and technology company that was previously working to develop its flagship Bissett Creek graphite deposit in northern Ontario.

The company is also focused on upgrading mine concentrates into high value components used in lithium-ion batteries, electric vehicles, fuel cells, graphene and other advanced technologies.

Its aim has been to become a leading supplier of graphite, an industrial mineral that has long been associated with steel manufacturing, lead pencils and golf clubs, but is now a key ingredient used in the production of electric vehicles.

The company said the acquisition of the Imerys assets would will elevate Northern from one of over 20 junior graphite companies looking for project financing to being the only North American and the world’s third largest non-Chinese graphite-producing company.

In addition, Northern said it would have two large-scale development projects in stable jurisdictions that will enable the company to significantly expand production to meet growing demands from the [electric vehicle]/battery markets

Transaction highlights included the acquisition of 40,000 to 50,000 tonnes per year of graphite concentrate production capacity.

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