Nouveau Monde Graphite ramps up potential capacity with report on new Canadian project

The Uatnan project in eastern Canada, run by Nouveau Monde Graphite (NMG), will yield 500,000 tonnes per year of graphite concentrate, according to a preliminary economic assessment, the company announced on Tuesday January 10

Canada-based NMG announced that its Uatnan mining project will be one of the world’s largest, with targeted production of about 500,000 tpy of graphite concentrate over the projected 24-year life of the mine.

The Uatnan project covers Mason Graphite’s Lac Gueret graphite deposit in Quebec, Canada.

Mason Graphite’s most recent technical report had planned production of 51,900 tpy of graphite concentrate for the project. But the preliminary economic assessment by engineering firms BBA and GoldMinds Geoservices showed a tenfold expansion of the original project.

The project has a reported operational expenditure of C$268 (US$199.90) per tonne, with a concentrate selling price of US$1,100 per tonne.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for graphite flake, 94% C, -100 mesh, fob China, was $830 per tonne on January 5. This price had been stable since October 20, 2022, but was up by $70 per tonne (9.21%) from $760 per tonne on January 6 in the same year.

“At some point, we will start to run out of graphite, like we did with lithium, and then the spot price will go ballistic,” Eric Desaulniers, president and chief executive officer of NMG, told an investors’ call on January 10. “Prices need to go up if we are to build capacity.”

Graphite concentrates from the project will be used as feedstock to produce active anode material for the battery and electric vehicle (EV) market, NMG said.

Global production of natural graphite for the anode market is currently dominated by China, but NMG planned to be biggest producer in North America.

“I believe we will be the largest anode material producer in North America,” Desaulniers told Fastmarkets in November 2022. “And if you want flake in significant quantities, you will need to buy it from us or bring it in containers from Brazil or Africa.”

The company is already developing the Matawinie mine and Bécancour battery material project in Canada, to meet growing demand in the US and Europe for natural graphite anode material.

NMG chairman Arne Frandsen said: “The Uatnan mining project aligns with our vision of progressive, integrated growth that caters to the market’s requirements for high-quality graphite materials, local supplies, ESG-driven development, and large volumes to meet EV production levels.”

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