NMG advances growth plan and files feasibility study for Quebec mine and battery material projects

Mike Edwards   

News battery materials BBA Inc. Becancour EV graphite Matawinie Mine Nouveau Monde Graphite plant

Construction operations at NMG’s Phase-2 Matawinie Mine. (Photo: Business Wire)

Nouveau Monde Graphite of Saint-Michel-des-Saints, QC, reports steady progress along its business execution plan as the company prepares the transition to Phase 2 of its vertically integrated operations and explores opportunities for its Phase 3 with a view to establish North America’s largest natural graphite production.

Striving to develop a local, carbon-neutral, and traceable turnkey supply of graphite-based advanced materials for the western world, the company says it is carrying out a phased plan to de-risk its projects, secure commercial commitments and build robust full-scale operations.

Phase 1: Derisking Growth & Informing Technical Development

During Q2-2022, NMG completed its integrated value chain with the successful addition of a commercial-scale coating unit at its Phase-1 plant. The coating of spherical graphite is the last process step to complete the company’s graphite-based product range for the EV and renewable energy sectors.

Commissioning activities of the unit started at the end of the period with the objective of commencing production towards the end of Q3-2022 to support product qualification, operational optimization, and detailed engineering of its Phase-2 Bécancour Battery Material Plant.

Construction of the second shaping unit at NMG’s Phase-1 plant is underway. (Photo: Business Wire)

At its Phase-1 purification facilities, NMG has announced continued production and optimization to test the furnaces’ optimal capacity, refine process and operational parameters, inform parallel engineering for Phase 2, and generate battery-grade spherical purified graphite volumes.

Piloting of all Phase-1 concentration and processing modules is ongoing to produce large, customized samples per detailed specifications for potential clients to support the commercial qualification of NMG’s battery-grade advanced materials.

Phase 2: Delivering Attractive Economics through Disciplined Execution

Engineering firm BBA Inc., with the support of various technical consultants, completed a feasibility study, following the National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Project (NI 43-101) rules and guidelines, for NMG’s integrated business operation comprised of the Phase-2 Matawinie Mine and Bécancour Battery Material Plant projects. The feasibility study is said to have demonstrated strong economics for NMG’s model despite the inflationary trends. NMG’s integrated business model, with a secured feedstock, close-by operations at the western market’s doorstep and operational flexibility to adapt production based on demand, represents a stable and cost-effective structure, the company says.

To advance the development of the Matawinie Mine, NMG and its consultants continued detailed engineering and optimization to support the finalization of design parameters and equipment selection. At the period end, the project engineering was advanced at approximately 63 percent.

Willow shoots are prepared and planted at the Matawinie Mine as part of a proactive environmental initiative towards progressive site reclamation. (Photo: Business Wire)

Construction of environmental protection infrastructure and preparatory work has continued at the mining site to prepare the next phase of civil works, including proactive initiatives for the management of progressive reclamation (additional details under ESG Commitment in Action section).

Electrification plans also advanced through collaborative work between Caterpillar and NMG’s technical teams. On-site testing of a prototype electric service mining vehicle, a conversion project carried out through an industrial partnership, is expected to generate a valuable source of data to optimize the company’s electrification plan.

For the Bécancour battery material plant, the company focused on finalizing engineering and operational parameters for the feasibility study and preparing for upcoming construction at its 200,000 m2 land in the Bécancour industrial park in Québec, adjacent to Olin’s facility.

In that regard, final fauna inventories were completed in Q2-2022 as part of the environmental site characterization, hence confirming the property presents no environmental limitations for construction.

A study of archaeological potential for the land, comprised of surveys of historical documentation and on-site works, was also completed in Q2-2022. This study was carried out by the Ndakina Office of the Conseil de la Nation Waban-Aki, the Indigenous organization overseeing territorial and environmental protection questions for the Abenaki Councils of Odanak and Wôlinak. No archaeological discoveries were made.

Phase 3: Scaling Up Production

On May 16, 2022, NMG entered into a strategic investment agreement with Mason Graphite Inc. to explore the potential development of the Lac Guéret graphite property. This agreement aligns with NMG’s growth strategy with a view to establishing a large and fully vertically integrated natural graphite production, from ore to battery materials, at the western markets’ doorstep.

Through this partnership, NMG intends to leverage the expertise of its technical team, its Phase-1 facilities and its knowledge of the graphite-based advanced materials commercial landscape to assess the economic, technical and environmental possibilities of developing Mason Graphite’s Lac Guéret Property with a potential production of a minimum of 250,000 tpa of high-purity flake graphite.

Further project phase details are available here.

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