Quebec invests in battery metals tracing
Pilot will use blockchain tech to map Nouveau Monde graphite Metal Tech News – Nov. 25, 2020
Last updated 11/24/2020 at 7pm
Quebec has put in motion a plan to establish itself as a leader in the global transition to a green economy – by both lowering the eastern Canadian province's carbon footprint through the adoption of renewable energy and electric vehicles, and being a source of responsibly mined minerals and metals that make these technologies possible.
Provincial officials recently unveiled the Quebec Plan for the Development of Critical and Strategic Minerals 2020-2025, which provides the framework for a strategy that will create wealth for its citizens by providing an environmentally and socially responsible source of lithium, graphite and 20 other critical minerals identified at projects across the province.
"As a reliable and ethical partner, Quebec will contribute actively to the global energy and technological transitions, by wealth creation in a greener economy," said Quebec Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Jonatan Julien.
Within a month of introducing this plan, the Quebec government is investing in one of the outlined objectives – a pilot project that uses blockchain technology to trace battery metals and minerals mined and processed in the province.
"The battery sector mineral traceability project is an initiative that fits perfectly into our vision for the development of CSMs (critical and strategic minerals) in Quebec," said Canada Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O'Regan.
To get this project started, Quebec is investing C$151,600 in grant money to Propulsion Québec, a group aimed at positioning Quebec as a leader in the business sectors related to electric and smart transportation.
Propulsion Québec's pilot project, using the infrastructure established by Nouveau Monde Graphite, will demonstrate the feasibility and applicability of a traceability system for the mining and processing of the company's graphite, a critical ingredient in the lithium-ion batteries that power EVs and store renewable energy.
This system will be affiliated with the Global Battery Alliance, a public-private collaboration founded by the World Economic Forum to help establish a sustainable battery value chain, and its Battery Passport solution.
The roughly 70 Global Battery Alliance members include international players in the automotive and battery sectors such as Audi, BMW, Google, Honda Motors, LG Chem, Microsoft, Mitsubishi Corp., Volkswagen, and Volvo.
The traceability pilot project in Quebec will map and document Nouveau Monde's graphite supply chain with detailed data on chemistry; environmental, social and governance factors; greenhouse gas footprint; logistics; and other factors.
Coupled with Nouveau Monde's low-carbon mining initiative, which includes plans for an all-electric mining fleet, the traceability system is expected to strengthen the graphite miner's competitive advantage in a lithium-ion battery market where environmental sustainability and a low-carbon footprint adds value.
"The production of graphite-based materials with a carbon-neutral footprint is already central to Nouveau Monde's business strategy to drive sustainability across the EV and energy storage value chain," said Nouveau Monde Graphite President and CEO Eric Desaulniers. "Now, with our roadmap to traceability and battery identity, we are positioning ourselves as the western leaders thanks to turnkey solutions for manufacturers."
If widely adopted, this system being pioneered in Quebec could provide battery metal mining companies, as well as downstream battery chemical and component manufacturers, the ability to demonstrate the environmental and sustainability record of their products along the entire supply chain. It may also be applied to other value chains involving mineral extraction.
As a result, this battery passport system is expected to strategically position Quebec and Canada as a prime destination for battery materials with the enhanced value of certification that these minerals and metals are sustainably mined and processed.
"The mineral traceability project in the battery sector is an initiative that fits perfectly with our vision for the development of strategic and critical minerals in Quebec," said Julien. "A reliable traceability program becomes a pledge of our responsibility in the valorization of SCMs and a strategic advantage to be even more competitive."
The sustainable mining of strategic and critical minerals goes hand-in-hand with Quebec's 2030 Plan for a Green Economy, a strategy launched earlier this month that lays the groundwork for a green economic recovery and reiterates the province's commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 37.5% below 1990 levels by 2030.