NextSource Materials ships first graphite from Molo mine in Madagascar

Molo mine workforce alongside first tonne of SuperFlake graphite concentrate. Credit: NextSource

NextSource Materials (TSX: NEXT) announced Monday it has made its first bulk container shipment of SuperFlake graphite from the company’s Molo mine in Madagascar.

This first shipment has been sent to NextSource’s downstream technical partner’s battery anode facility (BAF) to be processed into spheronized, purified graphite (SPG) that will then be further processed into coated SPG as part of large scale, multi-step verification tests being conducted by automotive EV supply chains in South Korea and Japan, the company said, adding that it expects to receive its first series of verification test results in December of this year.

NextSource said its aim is to become a vertically integrated global supplier of graphite anode material with plans to construct, in stages, multiple BAFs capable of producing CSPG at commercial scale in key jurisdictions.

The company said it will leverage its exclusive access to its partner’s IP for SPG, currently used in multiple OEM supply chains (Tesla and Toyota), and an EV supply chain-verified coating IP to produce CSPG.

Solar hybrid plant now fully operational

NextSource also announced Monday it has completed commissioning and achieved full operations of its solar and battery hybrid power plant at Molo.

The solar hybrid plant is owned and operated by CrossBoundary Energy under a 20-year power purchase agreement. It comprises a 2.69 MWp solar photovoltaic array combined with a 1.37 MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) and a 3.1 MW thermal (diesel) generator plant.

The entire PV array, incorporating 4,902 photovoltaic panels covering an area of 12,663 square metres (~1.3 hectares), has been fully integrated with the BESS, the company said.

Together with load balancing provided by the BESS, the solar hybrid plant will be capable of supplying up to 100% of the Molo processing plant’s power requirements during peak daylight hours, with the thermal facility supplying all baseload and off-peak power requirements, to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the mine.

The plant will be able to provide up to 35% of Molo’s complete system power needs from renewable energy, significantly reducing all-in sustaining costs and carbon emissions by 2,275 tonnes annually.

“As we continue the optimization phase of the commissioning process and towards ramp- up to nameplate production capacity for Phase 1 of Molo mine operations, NextSource is well positioned to play a critical role in the global, sustainable lithium-ion battery supply chain that is expected to see exponential growth over the next few decades,” CEO Craig Scherba said in a press release.

We are also delighted to have completed commissioning of our solar hybrid plant, which will enable us to significantly reduce our carbon emissions and all-in sustaining costs. NextSource is committed to playing our role in global decarbonization,” he said.

The solar hybrid plant will generate clean power to a capacity of 4 GWh, with the current PV array designed with extra capacity such that no expansion of the PV array will be required for Molo production capacity increases of up to 32,000 tonnes per annum.