NMG coating line completes integrated anode battery material production stage

Mike Edwards   

Cleantech Canada News News anode battery material electric vehicles EV Nouveau Monde Graphite

From mine to battery materials, NMG is developing what is projected to be North America’s largest fully integrated natural graphite operation at the markets’ doorstep. (Photo: Business Wire)

Nouveau Monde Graphite Inc. of Montreal (NMG) has showcased its new coating line with a nameplate capacity of 2,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) from its Phase-1 plant in Saint-Michel-des-Saints.

Completing the company’s integrated anode material production, from ore to battery material, the coating module was built over the first half of 2022 to complement NMG’s portfolio of advanced materials.

The ultimate beneficiation step, coating is instrumental to battery technology, the company says. Coating helps create a stable electrolyte interface layer in the battery system and increase initial coulombic efficiency and discharge capacity, thus extending the battery performance over time. With this addition, NMG now operates the only fully integrated North American natural graphite production and is positioned to provide customers with a variety of customizable high-purity advanced materials to meet their specifications, desired environmental footprint, and quality standards.

Arne Frandsen, chair of Nouveau Monde Graphite, said: “From extraction and concentration to advanced processing and battery testing in our laboratory, we have engineered processes, designed operations, and built facilities that demonstrate our proprietary technologies and production capability.

“This constitutes a springboard for executing our Phase 2 to develop what is projected to be North America’s largest fully integrated natural graphite operation. As an early mover, timing is superb for NMG considering the pressure battery and electric vehicles (EV) manufacturers are experiencing due to growth in demand for cleantech and limited raw materials.”

NMG’s innovative coating technology is projected to generate up to 25 percent energy reduction compared to the dominant manufacturing operations, it adds, with a minimal environmental footprint thanks to the company’s access to clean hydropower and its strong ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) operational parameters. The technology built in this Phase 1 is planned to be replicated and scaled up for the Phase-2 Bécancour Battery Material Plant, for a planned 42,000-tpa production at the commercial level.

NMG’s brand new 2,000-tpa coating module is being commissioned; production of CSPG expected by the end of Q3-2022. (Photo: Business Wire)

The company’s engineering team in collaboration with specialized firms are said to have secured a technology that provides versatility for the use of different precursors as research and development advances.

Cold commissioning of the kiln and utilities is underway with NMG’s and the equipment’s supplier technical team onsite; hot commissioning is expected to start shortly after with the objective of processing the first tonne of material at the beginning of Q3-2022. The company expects stable production by the end of Q3-2022 to support product qualification, operational optimization, and detailed engineering of the Phase 2 Bécancour Battery Material Plant.

Eric Desaulniers, founder, president, and CEO of NMG, commented: “I am extremely proud of our team who has delivered a highly technical project safely and on budget amidst a complex environment shaken by logistical turbulences, labor shortages and rising inflation.

“We are now set to provide a turnkey supply of anode material to our potential customers, reinforcing our active commercial discussions and bringing us one step closer to signing an offtake agreement with a strategic anchor customer.”

Spherical purified graphite (SPG) extracted from the Company’s Matawinie deposit and produced through its Phase-1 concentrator, shaping unit and purification facility, will be refined with a nano layer of carbon to qualify the material for anode application.

Production of coated spherical purified graphite (CSPG) in commercial-like settings, with NMG’s ore, technology and facilities, is said to further advance commercial discussions with potential customers with a view towards the completion of an offtake agreement.

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