Nouveau Monde Graphite eyes milestones
Big steps towards green anode material goal expected in 2021 Metal Tech News – January 6, 2021
Last updated 1/12/2021 at 5:39pm
2021 is shaping up to be a watershed year for Nouveau Monde Graphite Inc.'s mission to be a carbon-neutral supplier of the graphite needed in the anodes of lithium-ion batteries.
"This year will be an exciting year, as we produce our first anode materials and further the execution of our business strategy, which is set to build a company which is one of the world's largest high quality anode material producers," said Nouveau Monde Graphite President and CEO Eric Desaulniers.
This is a remarkable achievement when you consider that the 2015 discovery of the world-class Matawinie graphite deposit in Quebec is what set Nouveau Monde on this path.
"The Nouveau Monde team is proud to have worked relentlessly with a clear vision, since the discovery of our Matawinie deposit in 2015. After five years of effort, our team is excited to have produced a construction-ready project of world-class quality and scale," Desaulniers added.
A feasibility study completed in 2018 detailed plans for a mine at Matawinie that would produce 100,000 metric tons of graphite concentrate per year.
Flake graphite produced at Nouveau Monde's processing facility in the nearby town of Saint-Michel-des-Saints will be trucked roughly 100 miles (165 kilometers) to its advanced material plant at Bécancour, where the graphite will be upgraded to the coated spherical graphite that serves as the anode material in most lithium-ion batteries.
As a forward-looking company that is supplying a vital ingredient to the lithium-ion batteries storing renewable energy and powering electric vehicles, Nouveau Monde intends to shrink the carbon footprint of all its Quebec operations to net-zero. To accomplish this, the graphite producer will power its operations with hydroelectric and will have an all-electric fleet of mining equipment at Matawinie.
Leveraging its position as a carbon-neutral producer of lithium-ion battery anode material, the company is working with the Quebec government on a pilot project that uses blockchain technology to trace battery metals and minerals mined and processed in the province.
Under the direction of Propulsion Québec, this pilot project will map and document Nouveau Monde's graphite supply chain with detailed data on chemistry; environmental, social and governance; greenhouse gas footprint; logistics; and other factors.
This system will be affiliated with the Global Battery Alliance, a public-private collaboration founded by the World Economic Forum that boasts international players in the automotive and battery sectors such as Audi, BMW, Google, Honda Motors, LG Chem, Microsoft, Mitsubishi Corp., Volkswagen, and Volvo amongst its members.
"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 Desaulniers. "Now, with our roadmap to traceability and battery identity, we are positioning ourselves as the western leaders thanks to turnkey solutions for manufacturers."
The company believes it is on pace to reach commercial production of advanced graphitic anode material at its Quebec facilities by 2023.
Toward this overarching goal, Nouveau Monde expects to reach several significant milestones this year:
• Receive provincial approval for the construction of Matawinie project's commercial facilities in Saint-Michel-des-Saints during the first quarter.
• Begin the construction and commissioning of a phase 1 purification facility to produce advanced material for lithium-ion batteries in Bécancour by mid-year.
• Secure the best long-term strategic partnerships and long-term supply agreements from multiple ongoing discussions with battery and EV manufacturers.
• Develop innovative emissions compensation projects in partnership with local communities, in order to demonstrate the company's enduring commitment to carbon-neutrality.
• Continue employee training and business opportunity promotion programs targeting the Upper Matawinie and Atikamekw communities near its future mine in Quebec.
• Maintain and nurture relationship with the communities of Saint-Michel-des-Saints and Saint-Zénon; Atikamekw First Nation; and nearby Bécancour region by clearly demonstrating that Nouveau Monde's presence is a path to sustainable socioeconomic developments in the region.
"Developing a large-scale mining and value-added project like Matawinie takes tireless effort by a multi-faceted and highly skilled team. In addition, it can only happen if you have long term supportive investors and stakeholders – including local communities and a supportive government," said Desaulniers. "At Nouveau Monde, we are fortunate to have assembled this winning combination."