NMG secures low-carbon power for Quebec battery plant

Canada's push to become a global battery supply chain player continues to build momentum

NMG secures low-carbon power for Quebec battery plant
NMG is in discussions for off-take from its Becancour project

Canadian battery component manufacturer Nouveau Monde Graphite (NMG) has secured 77MW of electricity capacity from Quebec’s electricity supplier Hydro-Quebec to power its proposed Becancour battery material plant.

The firm is currently conducting feasibility and engineering studies on the plant with a view to taking a final investment decision (FID) when these are complete. The electricity will be used to power processes at the plant that refine graphite into active anode material.

NMG has stated goal to make the battery anode materials it produces — which will supply the growing lithium-ion and fuel cell markets — carbon neutral. 

Quebec’s electricity grid is almost completely decarbonised, made up of 99.5pc renewable sources.

“Quebec is becoming North America’s green battery thanks to its vast hydropower network,” says Arne Frandsen, chairman of NMG. “We, in turn, are leveraging this renewable energy and its multiple jurisdictional advantages to establish a new operational model.”

NMG will receive a discounted industrial rate for the electricity to power its operations at both its Matawinie mine and Becancour battery plant.

Financing phase two 

NMG is currently engaged in a number of commercial discussions with battery and EV manufacturers for potential off-take agreements from the proposed plant.

Japanese electronics heavyweight Panasonic is currently testing anode materials produced at NMG’s pilot plant in Saint-Michel-des-Saints, with a view to signing an off-take agreement from the new facility. 

The pilot plant will be used as a template for Becancour plant if and when FID is taken. 

In April NMG closed a public offering of 4.85mn common shares to raise C$30mn ($22mn), to be used to bring both the Becancour project, and the Matawinie mine that will supply it, to FID. 

Earlier this year NMG received a C$3.6mn grant from the government of Quebec to help develop its pilot plant. 

Attracting industry 

Quebec is looking to position itself as a hub for battery manufacture. The provincial government and Canada’s federal government recently invested a combined C$2.7bn in a new battery manufacturing facility to be built by Swedish battery manufacturer Northvolt.

The federal and provincial governments have also committed to providing Northvolt with production support of up to C$48/kWh designed to match the US Inflation Reduction Act's ‘Advanced Manufacturing Production Credit’.

The governments have also recently agreed deals with battery supply chain firms Volta Energy Solutions Canada and EcoPro CAM Canada, as well as a joint venture between US auto manufacturer GM and South Korean steelmaker Posco, to establish operations in Quebec.

In December 2022, the Government of Canada released the Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy to help advance the development of critical mineral resources and value chains across the country.

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