First Phosphate partners with Queen’s to advance Lac à l’Orignal property

The Pufahl Research Group has developed state-of-the-art phosphorite exploration models and fine-tuned production strategies. Credit: Queen’s University

First Phosphate has partnered on a research initiative with Pufahl Research Group at Queen’s University. The partnership will provide new data on the economic potential of the company’s Lac à l’Orignal phosphate. The company is at the exploration phase for phosphate minerals for the lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) battery industry within a 1,500 km2 land package in the Saguenay region of Quebec.

“Advanced mineralogical data is essential for making decisions regarding site feasibility and how to cost effectively extract clean phosphate under strict environmental, social and governance guidelines, with the lowest possible carbon footprint,” said John Passalacqua, CEO of First Phosphate.

“This partnership provides First Phosphate with a competitive edge by laying the foundation for developing proprietary and advanced methods of phosphate production for the LFP battery industry. Ultimately, we want to leverage our high-purity phosphate resource to help Quebec and Canada become a leader in the electric vehicle industry, and advance on our national climate change goals,” he added.

According to First Phosphate, the primary goal of this partnership is to determine the detailed mineralogy and geochemistry of phosphatic ore and waste minerals at Lac à l’Orignal, a step which complements the bulk geochemical assays and metallurgy being conducted by SGS Canada. The acquisition of high-resolution data using state-of-the art microscopy techniques is critical for understanding small variations in the chemistry of minerals forming the anorthosite host rock on a micron scale. Anorthosites are a rare and underexplored source of high-purity phosphate.

“Collectively, these methods not only provide details about the phosphorus concentration at Lac à l’Orignal, but also about how trace elements are distributed in ore and waste rock despite the already enviable purity of the phosphate found in the anorthosite,” said professor Peir Pufahl, co-director of Queen’s University facility for isotope research. “This high-fidelity picture is not possible using bulk whole rock analysis alone and is essential for understanding how to manage these elements during ore processing to safely handle tailings to ensure a fully clean, ethical and secure supply source.”

Presently, the company is working to complete the first NI 43-101 resource estimate for Lac à l’Orignal and has started planning for the 2023 drilling program. A preliminary economic assessment (PEA) is being prepared for February 2023.

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