Canada-based NextSource Materials has started graphite production at its Molo mine in Madagascar.
During the commissioning of the processing plant, the company prioritised the initial production of coarse flake concentrate. The first tonne of production is expected to include +48 mesh (jumbo size) graphite.
The start of the plant commissioning took place in March this year.
According to the company, the operations team has been progressing methodically to remove all the bottlenecks for the optimisation of activities.
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The company will now shift its attention towards ramping up the plant’s throughput to its nominal capacity of 17,000 tonnes per annum (tpa).
All flake graphite produced at the Molo graphite mine is expected for sale to key customers under existing offtake deals, including Germany’s thyssenkrupp Materials Trading.
NextSource will also sell the graphite to its Japanese technical partner, which has been supplying value-added graphite to Japan’s largest anode processor.
This supports supplies to several Japanese and international original equipment manufacturers of graphite anode material.
NextSource Materials president and CEO Craig Scherba said: “First production of our SuperFlake graphite is a significant achievement for NextSource and a testament to the dedication and hard work of our commissioning and operations teams, our employees and contractors, as well as the ongoing support that we have received from the local community and government.
“As we ramp up the production stage of operations, the company is in the enviable position of transitioning into a significant and sustainable global producer of high-quality graphite and anode material just as demand for their use in lithium-ion batteries is growing exponentially.”
Located in the province of Toliara, Madagascar, the Molo graphite mine will initially have 17,000tpa of flake graphite concentrate. The company plans to increase the production to 150,000tpa.
The company claims that there is more than 300km of linear graphite mineralisation in the region around the mine, which will offer multiple opportunities to meet the growing demand for graphite.