Northern Graphite resumes processing at North America’s only producing graphite mine

Northern Graphite Corporation has announced it has resumed processing ore…

Northern Graphite Corporation has announced it has resumed processing ore at Lac des Iles (LDI), North America’s only producing graphite mine, amid rising market demand.

Sales volumes at Quebec-based LDI rose each month in the third quarter. Total sales for the three-month period were 2587 metric t, representing an increase of more than 25% over the 2016 t sold in the second quarter, based on preliminary, unaudited data.

“What we saw starting in the third quarter was that customers were really coming off the sidelines to secure supply for the year after a hiatus in the first half,” said Northern Chief Executive Officer Hugues Jacquemin. “With sales volumes up more than 25% in the third quarter, together with what we are forecasting into the fourth quarter and next year, we believe there will be continuing strong demand for our product, and we have resumed processing at LDI to make sure we have continuous supply.”

The LDI mine and plant were temporarily placed on care and maintenance during the 2Q23 and 3Q23 amid challenging markets and lower prices for its products, while the company continued to supply customers from stockpiled inventories.

LDI has been supplying graphite markets for over 30 years, from refractory bricks for steelmaking to heat management in mobile phones and friction and lubrication products for brakes and brake linings for the global automobile industry. Recent testing verified that LDI graphite can be processed into Battery Anode Material (BAM), a key component of Lithium-Ion batteries, and can perform at or above the standards of commercially available reference materials.

Graphite has been classified by the US Department of Energy as one of five minerals deemed critical for the development of EV batteries and the energy transition, but it has largely been overshadowed by other battery minerals like lithium, cobalt, nickel, and manganese. For a vehicle to qualify for the full US$7500 EV tax credit reflected in the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a minimum percentage of the critical minerals by value in the battery (such as graphite, lithium, and cobalt) must be sourced from the US or one of the countries with which the US has a free trade agreement. Minimum requirements begin at 40% and increase to 80% by 2026 and 100% by 2028.

Northern’s LDI mine and facilities in Quebec, and its Okanjande mine and facilities in Namibia, are fully permitted, and the company is engaged with governments and automakers as it pursues its strategy to be the next generation carbon materials company for the energy transition. The company has a sustainable, integrated, mine-to-market-to-battery solution that will be eligible for credits on EV batteries produced by the US and its trading partners that are coming into force through the end of the decade under the terms of the IRA.

“As the only producer of graphite in North America, we are in a critical position, more than ever, to service graphite demand from North American battery makers,” added Mr Jacquemin.

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