TSX-listed NextSource Materials has shipped its first bulk container of SuperFlake graphite from the Molo mine, in Madagascar.
The shipment is destined for a battery anode facility to be processed into spheronised purified graphite (SPG) that will be further processed into coated SPG as part of multistep verification tests being conducted by electric vehicle supply chains in South Korea and Japan.
NextSource expects to receive the first series of verification test results in December.
The company aims to become a vertically integrated global supplier of graphite anode material by building multiple battery anode facilities capable of producing coated SPG at commercial scale in key jurisdictions.
NextSource will replicate the processing equipment, flow sheet and production methods used by its downstream technical partner that is conducting the test work and use the same technology and methods in its own plants.
Through a staged rollout of battery anode facilities, NextSource aims to supply battery and automotive customers with coated, spheronised and purified graphite for direct delivery outside of existing Asian supply chains, in a fully transparent and traceable manner.
Meanwhile, the company has commissioned a 2.69 MW solar photovoltaic array and 1.37 MWh battery energy storage system, coupled with a 3.1 MW thermal diesel generator, at the Molo mine.
The plant is owned and operated by CrossBoundary Energy under a 20-year power purchase agreement.
The solar hybrid plant will supply up to 100% of the processing plant’s power requirements during peak daylight hours, with the thermal facility poised to supply all baseload and off-peak power requirements, to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the mine.
The solar hybrid plant will be able to provide up to 35% of Molo’s complete system power needs from renewable energy, which significantly reduces all-in sustaining costs and carbon emissions by 2 275 t/y.
The company aims to have at least 50% of the complete Molo system powered by renewable energy in the coming years.
The Molo mine is one of the largest known and highest-quality graphite resources globally. It is ramping up to reach a nameplate production capacity of 17 000 t/y of graphite concentrate.
“As we continue the optimisation phase of the mine’s commissioning process and towards ramp-up to nameplate production capacity for Phase 1 of the Molo mine operations, NextSource is well positioned to play a critical role in the global sustainable lithium-ion battery supply chain,” says NextSource president and CEO Craig Scherba.
He expects the lithium-ion battery supply chain to exponentially grow over the next few decades.