Shares in Northern Graphite (TSXV: NGC) rose 25% Wednesday after it announced the launch of its NGC Battery Materials Group to lead its mine-to-battery strategy, which would make Northern one of the few integrated developers, producers, and processors of natural graphite outside China.
The new entity was formed through the acquisition of the assets and R&D team of the battery division of Germany’s Heraeus Group, including a fully operational, state-of-the-art laboratory in Frankfurt. Northern has also licensed intellectual property from Heraeus to develop, produce, and sell Porocarb, a high-performance porous hard carbon material developed over the last 10 years and patented by Heraeus to enhance the efficiency and speed of energy storage mechanisms.
“This is a pivotal move for Northern,” said CEO Hugues Jacquemin. “What sets this group apart is the wealth of expertise that comes with it. With a fully functioning laboratory equipped for analytics and battery testing, access to existing customers in the battery market and the ability to scale high-heat and carbon materials processes, Northern is set to accelerate the execution of its vision.”
The move by Northern, whose Lac des Iles mine in Quebec makes it the only graphite producer in North America comes as graphite takes on increasing geopolitical significance, after China in November announced stricter export controls over the material. The East Asian country is the world’s top graphite producer and exporter and refines more than 90% of the material used in electric vehicle batteries and other technologies needed in the green energy transition.
NGC will be operated by Northern and financed by selling excess production capacity to partners and other material developers. Northern will pay Heraeus a 2% royalty on sales of all Porocarb products.
The group will specialize in advanced material analytics and electrochemical characterization techniques for carbon and battery materials as well as providing in-depth expertise in the field of high-temperature processing, scale-up, and carbon design. This will enable Northern to provide tailored solutions to EV battery makers and original equipment manufacturers to satisfy their various unique battery requirements.
NGC Battery Materials Group will lead the development of Northern’s planned modular 200,000 tonnes-per-year Baie-Comeau, Que., battery anode material plant, with construction anticipated to begin in 2026, subject to financing.
Northern shares traded at C$0.20 apiece on Wednesday afternoon in Toronto, valuing the company at C$26 million. Its shares traded in a 52-week range of C$0.16 and C$0.64.