Quebec graphite developer Nouveau Monde Graphite (TSXV: NOU) has joined the Global Battery Alliance, an initiative of the World Economic Forum that aims to establish a circular and sustainable battery value chain – a key part of the transition to a lower-carbon economy.
The organization has around 70 members, including NGOs, government groups and international organizations, battery manufacturers, technology and auto companies, and miners that produce battery minerals, including Anglo American (LSE: AAL), Glencore (LSE: GLEN) and Vale (NYSE), and Eurasian Resources Group.
While not a producer yet, Nouveau Monde is developing its Matawinie graphite project in Saint-Michel-des-Saints, 120 km north of Montreal, as a carbon-neutral open pit operation, with a commercial production target of 2023.
The junior has a vertically integrated business model that involves mining at Matawinie and producing value-added forms of high-purity graphite at its purification facility in Bécancour to serve the growing lithium-ion battery and fuel cell markets. It’s also dedicated to the creation of a “Battery Passport” – a global solution that would allow data sustainability, responsibility and traceability data securely to customers.
The company is already part of a GBA-associated initiative to establish traceability in the graphite supply chain, a project that was started last October with Propulsion Quebec, OPTEL Group and the International Reference Center for Life Cycle of Products, Services and Systems (CIRAIG).
“In line with our corporate values and commitment to our communities, we have embedded the essence of the Global Battery Alliance principles into our business model,” noted Nouveau Monde president and CEO, Eric Desaulniers. “Now, we will join global leaders of our industry to help drive ESG practices and transparency into our sector. This represents an exceptional opportunity to share knowledge, shape tomorrow’s standards and accelerate the wheel of change. I am confident that our current and future projects will both contribute to and benefit from this leadership initiative.”
Since receiving provincial authorization for Matawinie’s development in February, Nouveau Monde has advanced detailed engineering of the project, begun civil construction works and inked an agreement with Metso Outotec for key mineral processing equipment.
The operation is expected to produce 100,000 tonnes of high-purity graphite annually.
It’s also conducting a feasibility study for a commercial-sized plant in Bécancour, which would produce 42,000 t/y of lithium-ion battery anode material and 3,000 t/y of purified flakes for specialty applications. The study is expected to be completed in the second quarter of next year.
The Stage 1 plant, in the final stages of commissioning, can produce 2 t/y of spherical graphite. The ability to purify graphite will be added this year, with the ability to produce coated spherical purified graphite planned for early 2022.
Nouveau Monde announced in July that it was applying for a patent for its proprietary purification technology, which uses high temperatures and a chlor-based reagent instead of hydrofluoric acid. Testing has shown the process can deliver a purity of 99.95% and above.
(This article first appeared in The Northern Miner)