NYSE- and TSXV-listed Nouveau Monde Graphite's (NMG's) feasibility study for its integrated business operation, comprising of the Phase-2 Matawinie mine and Bécancour battery material plant projects, has demonstrated strong economics for NMG’s model.
This comes as the battery and electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers seek alternatives for sourcing their graphite-based solutions amid growing demand and projected structural deficit of production in the next decade.
The study was conducted by engineering firm BBA with the support of various technical consultants.
NMG posits that it is ideally positioned to cater to the North American and European markets with its large graphite deposit, proprietary ecotechnologies, demonstrated production capacity owing to its Phase-1 operations, as well as preferential jurisdiction advantages including clean hydropower, flexible logistical base and stable fiscal and political environment.
NMG is developing a turnkey natural graphite operation with what it says are competitive advantages owing to its location, vertical integration, cost structure, environmental, social and governance credentials and experienced team.
The company’s Phase-2 Matawinie mine and Bécancour battery material plant projects, located within a 150 km radius of Montréal, Québec, show attractive economics and robust operational parameters underpinned by a large mineral property, NMG’s proprietary technologies, and clean hydroelectricity powering its operations.
The Matawinie mine will produce 103 328 t/y of graphite concentrate, while the Becancour battery material plant will produce 42 616 t/y of anode material, 3 007 t/y of purified jumbo flakes and 18 384 t/y of byproduct fines.
The feasibility study of NMG’s integrated operation indicates a 21% after-tax internal rate of return and a net present value of C$1.58-billion based on current projections of pricing prepared by a third-party expert for high-purity flakes and advanced graphite materials.
The integrated project capital expenditure is set at C$1.4-billion, of which the mine will require C$481-million and the battery materials plant C$923-million. The combined project will be paid back within 4.2 years.
NMG’s integrated production flowsheet provides the flexibility to distribute graphite concentrate per flake size and market demand to cater to the most profitable segments.
Jumbo to coarse flakes will be destined for high-purity, high-margin specialty and traditional markets at a life-of-mine (LoM) average price of C$ 2 135/t. Fine to intermediate flakes will be transformed into coated spherical purified graphite at the Phase-2 Bécancour battery material plant for sales as anode material for lithium-ion battery applications at a LoM average price of C$11 540/t.
A portion of jumbo flakes will also undergo refinement at Bécancour to produce purified jumbo flakes for niche applications such as heat dissipators in 5G technologies and bipolar plates in hydrogen fuel cells. By-products from this facility will also be sold to optimise the Bécancour basket price.
NMG’s phased approach is noted that have helped de-risk NMG’s projects while accelerating the engineering of Phase-2 operations, generating process and cost optimisation, and supporting commercialisation with potential customers.
NMG is designing a mine of the future, targeted to be all-electric, complemented by clean advanced beneficiation facilities to provide battery and EV manufacturers with responsibly extracted, environmentally transformed, and locally sourced green anode material.
“Market trends have accelerated in past months and while inflation and logistics turbulences present a more challenging environment, we have demonstrated our graphite expertise, advanced manufacturing capacity and complex project management skills to execute our vision of an integrated green anode material production.
“The successful upstream integration is designed to ensure that we have access to high-quality, responsible feedstock for decades to come, and provides battery and EV manufacturers with the assurance of a traceable, local, and carbon-neutral supply,” says NMG chairperson Arne Frandsen.