Nouveau Monde details Zero Harm strategy
Publishes inaugural ESG report; invites rivals to join efforts Metal Tech News – October 20, 2021
Last updated 10/19/2021 at 2:49pm
"Battery minerals cannot power a sustainable energy revolution unless their extraction and value-added transformation are done on a 'Zero-Harm' basis." –Nouveau Monde Graphite Inc. Chairman Arne Frandsen.
Above and beyond a philosophy that guides environmental, social, and corporate governance goals, this statement is the foundation of Nouveau Monde's strategy to deliver carbon-neutral graphite that elevates the ESG scores of electric vehicle and lithium-ion battery manufacturers that use the anode material it produces.
As the single largest ingredient in the typical lithium-ion battery powering today's electric vehicles and storing renewable energy, graphite plays a vital role in the transition to the envisioned low-carbon future.
Understanding the higher purpose of the graphite that it plans to mine and then upgrade into the anode material for lithium-ion batteries, Nouveau Monde has made industry-leading ESG principles and carbon-neutral operations the bedrock of its corporate strategy.
"We know that for many of our potential global clients, being able to purchase North American produced, high-quality carbon-neutral battery anode material, is of great importance. Nouveau Monde is determined to establish itself as one of the world's largest and most important sources of anode material for lithium-ion batteries," Frandsen said earlier this year.
Supplying carbon-neutral graphite to the builders of a low-carbon future is at the center of Nouveau Monde's Zero-Harm business strategy.
A feasibility study completed in 2018 detailed plans for a mine at its Matawinie project in Quebec that would produce 100,000 metric tons of graphite concentrate per year.
Flake graphite produced at its mine and processing facility near the 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.
The unique nature of Nouveau Monde's operations – underpinned by Quebec's renewable hydroelectricity – positions the company to have a significantly lower carbon footprint versus other graphite operations globally.
To leverage this advantage, the company plans to have an all-electric fleet of mining equipment charged with Quebec's abundant hydroelectricity digging up and hauling the graphite at Matawinie.
This idea is so ahead of the curve that the electric mining equipment it plans to use have not been invented yet.
This, however, has not stopped Nouveau Monde from pushing ahead with this important component of its vision of a zero-emission graphite mine in Quebec.
Last year, a first-of-its-kind electric-powered heavy-duty truck prototype developed by Propulsion Québec was tested at the Matawinie site.
While this test is a positive step toward zero-emissions mining, it does not address the electric dozers, loaders, and excavators that will also be needed to fully implement Nouveau Monde's net-zero mining vision.
To make this vision a reality, Nouveau Monde cut a deal with Caterpillar Inc. earlier this year to develop, test, and produce a fleet of all-electric Cat mining equipment at and for Matawinie.
Looking to accelerate and tailor the development of this equipment, Caterpillar will work with Nouveau Monde's team throughout the design, building, and testing of the zero-emission fleet and infrastructure prior to commercial production.
"The collaboration between Caterpillar and Nouveau Monde marks an important milestone in the mining industry," said Caterpillar Resource Industries Group President Denise Johnson. "Through integrated technology, machines and services, the entire Caterpillar team is proud to support Nouveau Monde as they work towards constructing and establishing their first zero-emission mine."
The Caterpillar team is "very excited" for this opportunity to develop a zero-emissions mine from the ground up.
"It gives us that opportunity to be deeply engaged with the people on the ground and really understand their goals," Marc Cameron, vice president of Caterpillar's Resource Industries, told Metal Tech News.
This collaboration is expected to result in Caterpillar becoming the exclusive supplier of an all-electric mining fleet for commercial deployment at Nouveau Monde's Matawinie graphite mine by 2028.
Find out more about the Caterpillar-Nouveau Monde collaboration at Electric Cats for a Nouveau graphite mine in the June 23, 2021 edition of Metal Tech News.
Nouveau Monde's climate action plan also includes measures for offsetting the less than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions the company will emit in the mining of graphite and transforming it into the anode-quality graphite needed for electric vehicle batteries. This includes nature-based carbon sequestration projects.
While carbon neutrality is a centerpiece of Nouveau Monde's Zero Harm goals, it is not the only facet of the graphite miner's ESG ambitions.
Some of the company's other ESG initiatives include:
• Progressive land management via innovative and safe co-disposal tailings process and ongoing backfilling during mining operations at Matawinie.
• Collaboration and benefit-sharing agreement with the local communities for job creation, skills training, and community development.
• An in-house research and development team, along with partnerships with world-class research centers and industry coalitions, to develop the greenest graphite-based battery solutions.
• Proprietary anode material purification ecotechnology to reduce energy and harmful chemical consumption.
Full details of Nouveau Monde's environmental, social, and governance initiatives, milestones, and plans can be found in the company's inaugural ESG report at https://nmg.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/NMG-2020-ESG-Report.pdf.
"Today, we are bringing to light our ESG achievements and setting the tone for our growth," said Nouveau Monde Graphite President and CEO Eric Desaulniers.
While proud of his own company's accomplishments, the Nouveau Monde founder aspires to have rivals in the mining and materials manufacturing sectors help it build ESG momentum for the betterment of all.
"We invite peers, competitors, and leaders from every sector of society to join our efforts; sustainability knows no boundaries," said Desaulniers. "Through collaboration and innovation, we could multiply the impact of our actions for a decarbonized future."