Nouveau Monde Graphite has released updated resources for the West Zone deposit at its Matawine graphite project, 150 km north of Montreal.
Updated measured and indicated resources increased by 25%, to 120.3 million tonnes grading 4.26% carbon graphite for a total of 5.1 million tonnes of contained graphite. Additional inferred resources are at 4.5 million tonnes at 4.43% carbon graphite for 200,000 tonnes of graphite.
The updated resource numbers incorporate 13,350 metres of drilling completed in the fall of 2019. The mineralization remains open to the north, south and at depth.
“This increase in the mineral resource estimate not only reduces the risk for our first years of commercial operations, but also demonstrates the robustness of the resource and our ability to meet the demand of manufacturers in the electric vehicle supply chain,” Eric Desaulniers, president and CEO, said in a release.
Nouveau Monde has been operating a 1,000 t/y demonstration plant for over a year, producing graphite concentrate with an average graphite content of 97%. According to the company, the resulting graphite content allows it to produce battery-grade material.
Nouveau Monde also announced that it has extended the repayment of a $2 million financing with Pallinghurst Graphite to Dec. 31, 2020. It has also closed a new, unsecured, C$2 million financing with Pallinghurst with repayment also by Dec. 31, 2020.
At the end of February, the company announced that it has started-up a test plant producing spherical graphite, with ongoing optimization work planned to produce high-purity samples for potential customers.
The associated micronization and spheronization steps are required to transform graphite concentrate into an anode material used in lithium-ion batteries.
In October 2018, the company published a feasibility study for the Matawine, which outlined an operation producing 100,000 tonnes of graphite concentrate per year over a 25-year mine life at an initial capital cost of C$276 million.
The associated project net present value estimate, at an 8% discount rate, came in at C$751 million.
Nouveau Monde is currently targeting commercial production in 2022.
(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)