NextSource initiates Madagascar graphite expansion study

24th June 2021 By: Mariaan Webb - Creamer Media Deputy Editor Online

A much-larger second phase development is on the cards for the Molo graphite mine, in Madagascar, says Toronto-listed NextSource, targeting the burgeoning battery materials market.

The technical study will determine the project economics of a Phase 2 expansion of at least 150 000 t/y of SuperFlake for its Molo mine project – more than triple that of the 45 000 t/y considered in the 2019 feasibility study.

The new minimum targeted capacity was determined after talks with flake graphite offtake partners, the Mick Davis-linked NextSource reports.

“Battery shortage is a major risk to the burgeoning electric car era. Security of supply of critical materials that go into these batteries is at the top of the agenda for governments around the world,” the company notes.

Construction of Phase 1 of the mine is already under way and construction of Phase 2 is expected to begin after the completion of the first phase. The $25-million Phase 1 project will produce 17 000 t/y of graphite concentrate.

Construction of a battery anode facility (BAF) to produce spheronised and purified graphite would begin next year. NextSource confirmed that the company was in discussions with its offtake partners as to the initial production capacity of the BAF.

The $29.5-million strategic investment by Davis’ Vision Blue Resources is funding the construction of Phase 1 of the mine, the technical study for the Phase 2 expansion and the technical study for the construction of the BAF.

The Vision Blue funding is also being used for a new metallurgical study to advance the Green Giant vanadium project, which is located about 15 km from the Molo project.