Canadian miner NextSource Materials has confirmed the commissioning of its first-ever graphite mine, the Molo operation in Madagascar.
The installation of the mine’s solar and battery facility for its hybrid plant is now in process as well. The facility will comprise a thermal generation facility, which is already in operation, and a solar and battery facility, consisting of a 2.6MW solar PV facility and a 1MWh battery energy storage system.
The thermal facility currently supplies all of the plant’s power requirement, and once completed, the solar and battery facility will provide up to 33% of the mine’s total electricity needs using renewable energy.
“Commissioning of the Molo graphite mine is a testament to the hard work and perseverance of our employees and contractors who have brought this project from design through to implementation in the midst of a global pandemic and shifting geopolitical landscape,” said president and CEO Craig Scherba.
“That hard work has placed the company in an enviable position as it transitions into a global graphite producer at a time when graphite consumption is increasing dramatically due to the explosive growth in demand for lithium-ion batteries.”
On that note, NextSource is also taking advantage of the market opportunity by creating a substantive niche for itself within the global lithium-ion battery supply chain through the commissioning of its first graphite mine and planned construction of its first battery anode facility.
The company announced on February 28 it was expanding its global Battery Anode Facility (BAF) strategy and the results of a technical study for its first BAF (BAF1), located in Mauritius.
“Mauritius was selected due to its close proximity to the…Molo mine and its position on strategic shipping routes to key markets,” the miner said, adding that front-end engineering and design and environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) permitting is now in progress.
The company is now in active discussions with strategic offtake partners and debt and equity financiers who have expressed an interest in funding the BAF1 construction. Subject to funding and completion of the ESIA, BAF1 could be producing by the second quarter of next year.
“The global expansion strategy involves the staged construction of BAFs in key global jurisdictions to satisfy OEM demand in Asia, North America, Europe and the UK,” NextSource said. “Each BAF will be capable of producing commercial volumes of coated, spherical and purified graphite (CSPG) for lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicle (EV) applications.”