First Phosphate (CSE: PHOS), headed by former environment minister Peter Kent, says the first drill results from its Bègin-Lamarche property in Quebec show multiple high-grade layers of the fertilizer and battery mineral.
Drilling encountered four high-grade layers returning grades of 7.8% to 10.6% phosphate along a magnetic trend continuing for 1 km at the site in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region about 400 km north of Quebec City, the company said in a news release on Thursday.
Layer two showed a thickness of up to 83 metres with a strong apatite presence in drill holes along a strike length of more than 500 metres, it said.
Drill hole BL-23-01 cut 83.5 metres grading 7.8% phosphate from 131.9 metres down in layer two, and 23.8 metres grading 10.6% phosphate from 5.9 metres in layer one.
BL-23-02 returned 13.1 metres grading 9.9% phosphate from 16.6 metres depth in layer three, and 57.3 metres grading 8.4% phosphate in layer four. The company plans an initial 4,000 metres of drilling.
“These initial drill results confirm our earlier high grade surface findings and are some of the highest-grade drill results ever established in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region of Quebec,” First Phosphate president Kent said in the release. “The Bégin-Lamarche property is optimally located within existing regional infrastructure and is situated only 75 km driving distance from the deep-sea port of Saguenay.”
Kent, 79, was minister of the environment under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper after a career as a television journalist dating to the 1960s.
First Phosphate began a preliminary economic assessment this month on its separate Lac à l’Orignal phosphate project in the same region as it vies to enter the surging battery mineral industry. It wants to supply material for lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries. They are less expensive than lithium-ion batteries, but have a lower energy density. Phosphate is non-toxic when compared to cobalt oxide or manganese oxide in other batteries. Also, LFP batteries can deliver constant voltage at a higher charge cycle, which essentially means they last longer.
The Bègin-Lamarche property’s mineralization is found within nelsonitic peridotite containing 15-20% apatite on average, the company said. Layer one started in bedrock and it’s possible it may be thicker. Hole BL-23-02 was stopped while still in mineralization and it’s possible layer four also may be thicker, it said. The company said it plans to deepen the hole.
The Lac à l’Orignal phosphate project, about 110 km north of Saguenay, holds 15.8 million tonnes grading 5.2% phosphorus pentoxide for 821,000 tonnes contained phosphate, 23.9% iron oxide for 3.8 million tonnes contained iron and 4.2% titanium oxide for 670,000 tonnes contained titanium, according to an indicated resource released in November.
The inferred resource is 33.2 million tonnes grading at 5.1% phosphorus pentoxide for 1.7 million tonnes contained phosphate, 22.6% iron oxide for 7.5 million tonnes contained iron and 4.2% titanium oxide for 1.4 million tonnes contained titanium, the same report showed.
Earlier this month, the company added 6.1 sq. km of claims to the property by issuing 27,173 common shares valued at 92¢ each to the vendor. The company holds 2,778 claims over 1,531 sq. km in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region.
First Phosphate listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange, as well as the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, only last month. Its shares are up 39¢ or 87% since listing on Feb. 22. The stock traded at 84¢ Friday afternoon.