Toronto-based battery materials development company NextSource Materials has finalised a binding agreement to build and operate a value-added, battery anode facility (BAF) to produce spheronised and purified graphite (SPG) required in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicle (EV) and hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) applications.
NextSource, chaired by Sir Mick Davis, is a Vision Blue Resources portfolio company that is in the late stages of mine development at its 100%-owned Molo graphite project, in southern Madagascar.
Commissioning of the BAF is targeted for the fourth quarter of 2022 and will be located proximal to key demand markets for graphite anode material. South Africa, Europe and North America are the jurisdictions currently being considered for the location of the facility.
The partnership is exclusive to NextSource and pairs the company with two well-established companies that process and supply SPG to Japanese anode and battery makers, who in turn supply the Tesla supply chain and other major original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the automotive sector.
This three-way partnership will provide NextSource with a complete, turnkey anode facility that is an exact duplicate of the facility that is currently processing value-added SPG for lithium-ion batteries by one of the current suppliers to Tesla and other international OEMs.
“This collaboration is part of NextSource’s downstream growth plan and partners the company with prominent and established processors and suppliers of graphite anode material to the Tesla supply chain and other global automotive OEMs.
NextSource is well positioned to be a significant strategic supplier of high-quality flake graphite to major battery anode customers globally, while simultaneously gaining an immediate foothold into the high-growth markets for EVs, as well as the burgeoning energy storage market that will be reliant on graphite anode material,” says Davis.
“With our Molo project fully financed and commissioning of the Molo mine expected in March of the next year, this partnership fulfils our strategy of having upstream integration supporting the battery anode facility at any scale the market may require.
This gives NextSource the enviable “pole position” in the battery race to have a fully commercial and vertically intergraded graphite operation,” says NextSource president and CEO Craig Scherba.